On April 20, 2011, Councilor Charles Yancey and the Boston City Council unanimously approved a resolution proclaiming Boston a Human Rights City. This brings Boston into a network of over 20 such cities worldwide committed to incorporating human rights norms and learning into local planning, social services and city culture.
The groundwork for this resolution was laid by Survivors Inc., a Mattapan-based welfare rights advocacy organization and newspaper cooperation with Shulamith Koenig, a 2003 recipient of the UN Prize in the Field of Human Rights. Koenig is also the founder of the People`s Movement for Human Rights Learning, the international sponsor agency of Human Rights City network based out of New York City.
Survivors Inc. has been building a network of social justice and community organizations and agencies throughout Boston to identify human rights priorities for our city. Based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — written by Eleanor Roosevelt and based on freedom from fear and freedom from want — this resolution seeks to enlighten all Boston residents of the personal meaning of this act.
Many people think civil rights are human rights, but they are different in that human rights cover all needs: life, health, water, food, work, unionization, shelter, and education among a few.
This is a long range process, one that requires input and perspective of people from all across Boston. Ours can be a Human Rights City, a small place where human rights have meaning and practical force. But it is up to us.
Coordinator, Survivors Inc.