Express yourself! (and help others access this right)

Editing photos with Elysee and Lydia

We hear a lot about freedom of speech as laid out in the U.S. Bill of Rights. However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights takes a slightly different approach in Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” We not only have the right to our opinion, but also the right to access the information necessary to form an opinion!

On Thursday, our campers spent the day expressing themselves and empowering others to do so. Our own Julia and Madison led a writing workshop and guest facilitators Lydia and Israel held workshops on photography and videography. Campers also partnered with the Roving Listeners from Macon, Georgia to spend time in downtown Americus listening to local residents. By simply providing a listening ear, our campers empowered others to exercise their right to freedom of expression. What a radical thing to just listen!

When I talked to Marilyn at 10:30 at night, campers were still exercising their rights, in the form of an impromptu dance party! (I hope everyone ended up getting enough sleep.)

Here are some ideas of how you can exercise your right to freedom of expression and to empower others as well:

  • Learn the story of Romaine Patterson, one of our peacemakers of the day. We hope you will be as inspired as our campers by Romaine’s story.
  • Share Vox ATL teen newspaper with young people in your life.
  • Read Affinity Magazine, a social justice publication for which our CIT Madison writes.
  • Watch Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
  • Invite an arts group from another culture to perform in your town, like MECA‘s dance troup did in CIT Medinah’s hometown.
  • Download the TuneIn Radio app and listen to Great Dreams Radio (host Sulaimon is a “Real Communities” partner of Peacebuilders Camp and happens to be blind) or other online radio stations that promote the freedom of expression.
  • Reach out to someone that has different opinions from you and offer to listen. Here’s an experience I had recently listening to neighbors on the other side of the political spectrum.
  • Watch MSNBC and FoxNews back-to-back with your family and compare the news coverage.
  • If you want ideas on how to express yourself politically in the Trump era, join Jen Hoffman’s Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience.

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Join us for Peacebuilders Evening Camp in Atlanta! We’re taking the excitement of Peacebuilders summer camp and bringing it closer to home for those in and around the metro Atlanta area. You’ll learn the basics of human rights and discover how you can work to make change in the Atlanta community. Get ready to make new friends, share your ideas, and meet inspiring people who are creating hope and standing up for justice! Let’s get started building peace in our world!