HICKORY – The Catawba Valley Interfaith Council (CVIC) invites the public to join them on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for their annual celebration of Human Rights Day. The service will be at 7:00 pm on Monday, December 10 in Grace Chapel at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory. Bobbie Cavnar, the 2016 State Teacher of the Year for North Carolina, will be the keynote speaker and talk about education as a human right.
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mr. Cavnar attended Florida State University and earned a Master of Arts in English from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2011. He started his teaching career as a student teaching intern at Marjory Stonemon Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and is currently an Advanced Placement Literature teacher and English Department Chair at South Point High School in Gaston County where he has taught for the past 14 years. Cavnar is the recipient of numerous awards for teaching excellence, and he serves as teacher advisor to the North Carolina State Board of Education and the Governor’s Education Advisory Council. He believes the opportunity of a free, public, and equal education offered to all Americans is not only fundamental to the success of our society but also to keeping the historical promise made in our own founding documents.
Article 26 of the Universal Declaration affirms the right to go to school, continue your studies as far as you wish and learn regardless of race, religion or country of origin. Drafted by a diverse group of people from Australia, Canada, Chile, China, France, Lebanon, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Universal Declaration was designed to prevent the repetition of the horrific human rights violations that had been committed during World War II. In 1948 the drafting committee of the United Nation’s Commission on Human Rights was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, an Episcopalian, who combined her passion for human rights with a political realism that many credit with making this accomplishment possible. A Lebanese academic, philosopher, and ethicist, Charles Malik, led the philosophical debate over the Universal Declaration, and the Chinese playwright, philosopher, diplomat and Vice Chair Peng Chun Chang is said to have argued for the universal validity of Confucianism. Rene Cassin, a jurist, judge, and legal advisor to Charles de Gaulle, wrote the first draft, based on a blueprint provided by John Humphrey, a Canadian secular humanist and Director of the UN’s Human Rights Division.
Christian churches, whose leaders served as consultants to the Commission, hailed the passage of the Universal Declaration and claimed a share in credit for what they described as “one of the outstanding achievements of the United Nations since its establishment.” Christian mission organizations in particular welcomed “one of the most important and significant statements of its kind” from Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, the delegate from Pakistan, who rose to support the right of individuals to change their religious belief (Religion News Service, 1948). The wife of the president of Argentina, Evita Peron, made a last minute plea over the radio to the U.N. in favor of care for the elderly.
CVIC’s annual celebration of Human Rights Day is intended to engage the Catawba Valley community to help promote understanding of how the Universal Declaration empowers us and to encourage further reflection on the ways that each of us can stand up for rights, every day. As it has done the past few years, CVIC will again ask the Hickory City Council to issue a proclamation recognizing Human Rights Day and the need to defend human rights for everyone. CVIC is a local not-for-profit organization of faith-based and secular communities in the Catawba Valley serving as a catalyst for hope and cooperating for the purpose of dialogue, information sharing, and celebration.
Media inquiries: CatawbaValleyInterfaithCouncil@GMail.com