Written by Yolanda Garcia
Although December has not been designated a special heritage month, it does contain celebratory days that are recognized internationally. On December 10th in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document set forth the basic civil standard of economic, political, and social rights that should be guaranteed to every person. Each December, the commitment to this universal document of rights is renewed and celebrated.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is relevant today because it is an expression of what is right and good and worth fighting for. It is a set of guidelines that helps to keep the eyes of humankind on the goal of a world in which everyone lives the lives to which they are entitled. Maybe it’s cheesy, maybe it’s cliché. But we need something to remind us of the values we hold dear. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does that, and may we never forget it.
In addition, the United Nations has established December 3rd as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This international observance was established to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons living with disabilities. It also aims to foster awareness of the importance of integrating persons with disabilities into every aspect of life.
The 2021 theme for International Day of Persons With Disabilities is “Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.” This year celebrates the challenges, barriers, and opportunities for people who live with disabilities, in the context of a global pandemic. People who live with disabilities are among the most adversely affected populations amid the COVID pandemic. Where marginalization, discrimination, vulnerability, and exploitation are everyday factors for many people living with disabilities, their risk of poor outcomes has been magnified due to reduced access to routine health care and rehabilitation services, more pronounced social isolation, poorly tailored public health messaging, inadequately constructed mental health services, and a lack of emergency preparedness for people with special needs.
We call on every citizen in every community to learn from the experiences of people living with disabilities during this pandemic and push for more meaningful investments to reduce barriers faced by people with disabilities in every community.