I am truly lucky to live in a city where I have opportunities to take in events like the recent Amnesty International & Human Rights Education Conference. It was held at our new Central Library. I heard a man from Honduras speak about torture and unjustly imprisonment in Mexico (his own), an advocate for the rights of Indigenous women (Canada) and one of the founders of the “Sisters in Spirit Walk”.
There was also a panel on literature and human rights that discussed should literature be politically and socially engaged? Should authors take political or social stands. The last discussion was on human rights in the digital age touching on Edward Snowden’s revelations about mass surveillance programs. There were also workshops on what needs to be done on stopping violence against Indigenous women and LGBTI rights now eliminating discriminations and what we can do to work towards justice and equality.
I couldn’t take them all in as some of them ran concurrent. What I did realize is that I am extremely lucky to live in Canada and that I am not as aware as I should be of what is happening in the rest of world and at times my own country. Also that my government has a part to play – which they are falling down on. The conference was a wake up call for me. I might not be able to save the world but I/we can be a part of something bigger. Write a letter to your local Member of Parliament/government, volunteer in your community, donate, become part of on-line communities. What is happening in your local area or world-wide that you can get behind and be part of something bigger.