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Human Rights Day Breakfast: 12/4/2007

You are Cordially Invited to Our Human Rights Day Breakfast

Discovering Concord’s Black History

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007 Trinitarian Congregational Church 54 Walden Street, Concord 7:30–9:00 am

If we look around the world today, there are many places where human rights are being ignored – too many. From the forced relocation of civilians in South Darfur by the Sudanese government, to the punishment of a sexual abuse victim in Saudi Arabia, to the brutal attacks on Buddhist monks in Burma, violations of human rights against individuals and groups are far too common.

Next year will be the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was issued on December 10, 1948 to set a benchmark of human rights standards that should be met at a minimum. In part the Declaration reads: “Everyone can claim the following rights, despite a different sex, a different skin color, speaking a different language, thinking different things, believing in another religion, owning more or less, being born in another social group, or coming from another country.”

Setting aside one day to focus on the issues of human rights is supposed to make us look not only at the more obvious and appalling erosion of rights around the world, but also to check in our own backyards for ways to safeguard them here at home. Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are good sources of information on these issues as they play out in the United States: the ban on religious books in prisons, the convictions of the “Jena Six”, and the growing call for prisoners with certain mental illnesses to be kept out of solitary confinement, are all examples of how our human rights are at risk individually and collectively. Celebrating Human Rights Day allows us to focus on our local community while remaining mindful of how human rights are matters of life and death in other parts of the world.

The Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council will hold its annual Human Rights Day Breakfast on Tuesday December 4, at 7:30 am at the Trinitarian Congregational Church on Walden St in Concord. The topic being presented this year is ‘Uncovering Concord’s Black History’.

Did you know that there are many houses in Concord that were stops on the Underground Railroad? That the Alcotts, Thoreaus and Emersons were all very active Abolitionists? That the sisters, aunts, mothers and wives of those famous Transcendentalists formed the ‘Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society’? That Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison all visited and spoke in Concord? That some of our streets are named after black residents – Jennie Dugan, Brister Freeman?

Our aim is to construct a physical trail loop that includes many of these places, along with the re-packaging of the book, ‘Black History in Concord’, written by Barbara Elliott and Janet Jones of the Concord Public Schools in 1978. We hope to make it more available, both in the schools and in the community, so that it can be not only a teaching tool, but a guide to the trail itself.

All are welcome at the Breakfast, and there is no charge for any C- CHRC event.

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