While the title of this article might seem self-explanatory, the truth behind the words “human rights matter” has historically not always been evident. Even today, egregious human rights abuses force us to broaden our discussion about civil and human rights. The International Summit on Civil and Human Rights, hosted by the Kennesaw State University’s Center for African and African Diaspora Studies, highlighted cases in the past and present where our views on human rights needed to shift, expand, or change.
Discussions about civil and human rights must remember the past in order to shape the future. The panelists and performers at the summit might have each had their own definition of “civil and human rights,” “justice,” and “equality,” but they shared the view that we as a society must consciously choose to examine our world today and the change problems that face our society. With progress comes an increased burden of responsibility. As we advance as a society, striving towards equality and justice for all, we are responsible to continue moving forward. In this spirit, the summit was held on the 50-year anniversary of major events of the American civil rights movement.
In commemorating the American civil rights movement, Summit attendees were encouraged to reflect on how uniting across racial, geographical, generational, social, and cultural divides furthered the cause of liberty and human dignity around the world. Through examining the American, African, Latin American and Caribbean, Middle Eastern, European and Asian experiences, civil and human rights struggles can be reconstructed to provide a solid foundation for the events happening in our world today. The summit provided a multi-disciplinary platform to remember, reflect, celebrate and interrogate historical and contemporary civil and human rights issues that are both national and transnational.
Posted: November 5, 2015