Human Rights is a subject which, unfortunately, most of us never learned about in school. It’s a subject which theoretically should be up there in importance with any other piece of the curriculum, as it’s only natural that a child should grow up knowing to which rights he is entitled by the United Nations simply by the qualification that he or she is “human”.
This weekend, three local Alexandria artists teamed up with local members of Youth for Human Rights International – a group operating for and with every major religious group and with with governments and organizations around the world to raise awareness of Human Rights — to create a massive community statement to forward this message in the artistic-minded community of Del Ray in Alexandria, Virginia.
The project was a massive 50-foot mural, sketched first by three Alexandria-area artists and then painted by hundreds of children from youth groups around the area, depicting each of the 30 Human Rights guaranteed by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The mural, designed to show that human rights and community spirit are closely intertwined, was done as part of Art on the Avenue — an annual art festival attended by tens of thousands, held in the community of Del Ray in Alexandria. It was really a sight to behold, with kids of every age – from my 13-month old daughter to 5-year olds, 10-year-olds, teenagers and their parents & grandparents, pitching in to add their creative flair to the massive statement.
The mural lists the 30 Human Rights on the side of wall, and graphically depicts various selected Human Rights throughout the image such as the Right to Play, Freedom of Expression, the Right to Property, and the right to seek a safe place to live.
Not only did the kids and adults have fun (my daughter included – who got her first experience with paint, painting her nose, my nose, my hair and my shirt in the process), but everyone who wanted one got a free DVD illustrating the 30 Human Rights.
Below is a slideshow of the event: