Bringing Businesses and Human Rights to Life Locally

Eleanor Roosevelt, the primary architect and driving force behind the adoption of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, once said with great eloquence and truth:

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.  Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works.  Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seek equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.  Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.  Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

To bring this topic closer to home, I’d like to give some examples of what we have done or plan to do at Simon Eye Associates.

Simon Eye’s Purpose is to help bring the world into focus so you can achieve and enjoy all life has to offer.   As a company, we align our community service activities around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article #25 – Right to Food, Shelter, Clothing, Medical Care; Article #26 – Right to Education and Article #24 – Right to Play.  Our main emphasis for the promotion of all three of these rights is “the Right to Sight”.   For the past few years, we collaborated with the Mayor of Wilmington’s office, VSP-one of our top insurance providers, and some local school nurses.  In 2018, we gave over 300 complimentary eye exams and eyeglasses to adults and students in need.  In the Fall of each year, we work with school nurses to provide nearly 2,000 vision screenings at 15 area schools.  We make contributions to organizations who support children’s education and/or human rights education.  Simon Eye Associates also sponsors a Human Rights Podcast series with WJBR.  In celebration of May as Healthy Vision Month, we hold an annual Art Exhibition where we invite artists of all ages to submit their vision of a better world.

What Can Your Business Do to Promote and Protect Human Rights?

You can start small by making sure your own business is adhering to the 30 human rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Then, if you want to go beyond your business walls, help your community and world by promoting and protecting a human right that most aligns with your business’ purpose.  You can also survey your employees to find the rights they feel most passionate about and get into action around that.  Some other suggestions:

  • Educate your executives and staff on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (if people do not know their human rights, they cannot do anything to promote or protect them for themselves and others)
  • Adopt a human right(s) that most aligns with your business’ purpose. Then find and support Non-Profits or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are getting results around that right. Volunteer with them or donate funds.
  • Write to your Representatives and Senators to ask them to promote and protect the human right you adopted and to get the Universal Declaration of Human Rights taught in schools in your area.
  • Encourage employees to volunteer with the organizations you chose or to find a human right they, themselves feel strongly about and volunteer or donate to organizations making an impact on that.
  • Join your local United Nations Association Chapter and/or United for Human Rights Chapter.

Let’s not wait for another crisis.   Get into action now!

In Part III, I’ll cover why it is important to continuously have attention on improving and protecting your business culture.

Post by: Ellen Firestone