Tea and cappuccino were served, and gift certificates for everything from the Pilates Loft to Salon Bravo and Ambria’s Gallery of Wearable Art were sold in a silent auction to raise funds. Educational material on human rights was available, including DVDs from Youth for Human Rights featuring PSAs portraying each of the 30 rights in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Human Rights Walkathon began in 2007 with the purpose of raising awareness and educating about human rights. Many people find their human rights violated, simply because they do not know what they are. Basically, human rights are those rights an individual has, simply by being human. There are flagrant examples of human rights violations, such as human trafficking or the suppression of free speech during the recent Iranian elections; but there are more subtle violations of human right that occur right here in our own neighborhoods, such as domestic violence, or discrimination.
“I wanted to do something,” says Linda Drazkowski, chairman and founder of the Human Rights Walkathon, “Education is the key.” Law enforcement is important, she explains, but the real way to curb human rights violations is through handling the desire to violate someone else’s rights, stopping people from wanting to enslave other people. Ms. Drazkowski has plans to expand the walkathon, and its message, to more cities throughout the world.
Participating groups include Youth for Human Rights International, the Academy of Hope, and the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking. This year, United for Human Rights will be joining the roster.
The next Human Rights Walkathon will be held in St. Petersburg’s North Straub Park on March 6th. Participation is free, and there will be public addresses and entertainment following the walkathon. For more information, go to www.humanrightswalkathon.org