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What Does Human Rights Mean To You?

June 4th, 2020 by Prontopia

The murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, 2020, incited global outrage and protest against racism and social inequity while the world continues to struggle with the socioeconomic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The magnitude of the response to this tragic murder and the reckless disregard for fundamental human rights that it represents signals a point of no return for the need to build sustainable economies and societies on a foundation of inclusivity and equal opportunity.

At Prontopia, we believe that change starts with interactions between us as people. This is why we founded our company as a Public Benefit Corporation with our stated public benefit centered on human rights. Our mission is to “cultivate human rights awareness through global connectedness and human understanding.”

Amid so much grief for the current broken conditions of humanity, how do we heal? Activity and commitment is needed every day to improve the lives of the disadvantaged, to the benefit of everyone and for our planet. Awareness and conversation lead to communal action. Will you join the voices of our community in Italy, Spain, and California, and let us know, what does human rights mean to you?

To get the conversation going, we have assembled some diverse viewpoints from history, across continents, races, and genders that show an inherent value for taking care of each other is fundamental to our survival and well-being as humans.

15,000 years ago

“A student once asked anthropologist Margaret Mead, “What is the earliest sign of civilization?” The student expected her to say a clay pot, a grinding stone, or maybe a weapon.

Margaret Mead thought for a moment, and then she said, “A healed femur.”

A femur is the longest bone in the body, linking hip to knee. In societies without the benefits of modern medicine, it takes about six weeks of rest for a fractured femur to heal. A healed femur shows that someone cared for the injured person, did their hunting and gathering, stayed with them, and offered physical protection and human companionship until the injury could mend. Mead explained that where the law of the jungle—the survival of the fittest—rules, no healed femurs are found. The first sign of civilization is compassion, seen in a healed femur. – Ira Byock

 Ca. 170 AD

What Does Human Rights Mean To You? 0

"Man is born for deeds of kindness; and when he has done a kindly action, or otherwise served the common welfare, he has done what he was made for, and has received his quittance.”

– Marcus Aurelius

12th century

What Does Human Rights Mean To You? 1

"I welcome all the creatures of the world with grace."

– Hildegard of Bingen

15th century

What Does Human Rights Mean To You? 2

“Look upon the marvelous works of nature, if you judge it to be an atrocious act to destroy them, reflect that it is an infinitely atrocious act to take away the life of man”

– Leonardo da Vinci

Ca. 1932

What Does Human Rights Mean To You? 3

“Is not the sky a father and the earth a mother, and are not all living things with feet or wings or roots their children?”

- Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk)


What Does Human Rights Mean To You? 4

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

- Martin Luther King Jr.


What Does Human Rights Mean To You? 5
Inaugural Address of President Jimmy Carter

“We reject the prospect of failure or mediocrity or an inferior quality of life for any person. Our Government must at the same time be both competent and compassionate.

We have already found a high degree of personal liberty, and we are now struggling to enhance equality of opportunity. Our commitment to human rights must be absolute, our laws fair, our natural beauty preserved; the powerful must not persecute the weak, and human dignity must be enhanced.

We have learned that "more" is not necessarily "better," that even our great Nation has its recognized limits, and that we can neither answer all questions nor solve all problems. We cannot afford to do everything, nor can we afford to lack boldness as we meet the future. So, together, in a spirit of individual sacrifice for the common good, we must simply do our best.”

– Jimmy Carter

Ca. 1980

What Does Human Rights Mean To You? 6

“Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or sovereign. ... You must weep that your own government, at present, seems blind to this truth.”

-Mother Teresa

Photo Credits: Marcus Aurelius, Hildegard Bingen, Leonardo DaVinci, Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Carter, Mother Teresa


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