December is Human Rights Month, and to help us promote the cause of protecting human rights in our communities and around the world, we've created a digital toolkit for individual Friends and Quaker meetings/organizations inspired by the work of celebrated human rights activist Bayard Rustin.
Raised Quaker by his grandparents, Bayard Rustin grew up to become one of the chief architects of the civil rights movement in the United States. He was a conscientious objector and a highly organized activist who convinced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders in the civil rights movement to adopt nonviolent protest as a strategy to achieve change. Despite his important contributions to the movement, Rustin's story was long overlooked due to his status as an openly gay man and the bigoted viewpoints of leaders at the time.
We encourage Friends and their meetings to use this digital toolkit throughout Human Rights Month and year-round.
Social Media Messaging
Consider using these suggested social media messages paired with a Bayard Rustin quotation image on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms to help Friends, seekers, and those who are unfamiliar with Bayard Rustin or the Quaker way become aware of Human Rights Month and ways they can advance the cause of human rights. Or, write your own using hashtag #QuakersPromoteHumanRights.
During #HumanRightsMonth, get to know #BayardRustin, a Quaker advocate for human rights who organized many nonviolent marches and demonstrations during the civil rights movement. Learn more at FGCQuaker.org/hrkit.
This December, be an "Angelic Troublemaker" like #BayardRustin - promote human rights for all. Visit FGCQuaker.org/hrkit to download a special #HumanRights Month kit.
Every month should be #HumanRights Month. Learn strategies for nonviolent advocacy year-round with the "Invisible Activist" #BayardRustin. Visit FGCQuaker.org/hrkit to learn more.
Advocacy in Quaker Meetings
How can your meeting promote the cause of human rights throughout the year? Here are action steps to consider:
- Compose queries for your worship community to discern during Meeting for Worship, Meeting for Business, and during quiet moments for reflection in daily life.
- Approve a Minute on Human Rights. This Minute was adopted by Hanover Friends Meeting of New England Yearly Meeting in December 2016.
- Visit the Friends Engage page of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) website for resources and opportunities to connect
- Learn about the history of Quaker efforts to promote human rights by reading this resource from Quakers in Britain.
Now is the time to engage friends and neighbors outside of your worship community on the importance of advocating for human rights. Not sure where to begin? Here are ideas:
- Host an interfaith panel on human rights at your Quaker meeting house or church, and invite representatives from other faith traditions to participate.
- Write an op-ed/opinion essay for your local newspaper or online news organization advocating for human rights, sharing the spiritual grounding for your advocacy.
- Ask your friends and relatives how their faith empowers them to recognize and affirm human rights, and if you feel comfortable, share your experiences of ways Quaker faith and practice has influenced your advocacy.