Travel & Culture

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights | Atlanta

If you are ever in Atlanta, I recommend visiting the Center for Civil and Human Rights. This one institution challenged me to think about what human rights for all beings looks like, and inspired me to be better and do better for not just people like me but for all humans.

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, was established in 2007 to “create a safe space for visitors to explore the fundamental rights of all human beings so that they leave inspired and empowered to join the ongoing dialogue about human rights in their communities”. Well, they did it. By the time I left the museum, I came out with a bigger perspective about the world around me.

There are so many activists in this world, fighting for disability rights, immigrant rights, women’s rights, and more. Reading about them made me so thankful that there are people like them in this world. There was also a piece on current world leaders stripping away the rights of humans in their countries, and leaders who have been jailed for doing so.

There were a bunch of field trips happening at the same time I was there. I was looking at a world map that annotated to what degree of freedom does each country have? A group of middle school boys, and here’s what I heard:

Boys: I bet Adam* (I forgot his real name, so I’m making it up) knows it all cause he loved to read!

Adam: Maybe! I’m going to not look and quiz myself. South Korea has no liberties because it’s under a dictator.

Boys: Correct!

(Adam goes on, gets them all correct.)

Adam’s friend: Adam, how come -this country- only has partial freedom?

Adam: It’s cause…

Just overhearing this conversation made me smile. This middle school child took it upon himself to learn this about all the countries in the world. If the future had more kids like him, I think the world will be in good hands.

I’ve seen this quote several times before in my life, but it wasn’t until this period of time, when Trump and his administration has attacked and taken away so many rights of people in USA that it really hit me: I shouldn’t wait until I feel personally attacked to speak up. I have a voice now. Use it. Spread awareness. Advocate for change. Do something.

The special exhibit when I visited was about Human Rights and Sports. It was co-sponsored by ESPN, and was really informative. One thing that I will never forget now is the 1968 Olympics salute by African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos. They won gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200-meter running event, and kept their hands raised when the US national anthem was playing. They both wore human-rights badges and other articles of clothing to bring awareness to the human rights violations against the black community.

Wow, just wow.

I learned so much from the Center, and am inspired to do something about it. What has been a place that’s inspired you? Let me know in the comments!


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