Where exactly do human rights begin? Sunday, December 10th, 2017 is International Human Rights Day. We cannot protect the rights of all people if we do not respect the rights of the youngest and most vulnerable.
Human Rights and Social Justice
Since the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, psychologists have been essential in the response to HIV. They offered mental health support for people living with, or at risk for, HIV—as well as for their families and communities, and those who provide HIV medical care and social services. Psychologists developed programs to educate people about HIV and motivate behavior change to reduce risk.
Every day now in the news, we learn of various actions taken by those facing allegations of sexual assault and harassment. One set of actions has to do with their reported sexual harassment and/or assaults. Another set of actions has to do with how they respond when accused. Both types of action are crucially important. A good response can at least do some good (sincere apologies can be healing). But a bad response not only exacerbates the harm of the first injury, it also inflicts new injury, and does so in ways that are usually public and ongoing (well past the media moving on).
Over the last year, we have witnessed regular news media headlines coming out of Washington, D.C. with a state of shock, horror, and anger. Specifically, we have been alarmed by the rollback of protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth and students.
The White supremacist rally which led to the death of one counter-protestor may seem worlds away from the lives we lead in schools, non-profits, government agencies and corporations. Charlottesville represents the most extreme, virulent and lethal form of racism—a form that is repudiated by most everyone. But racism occurs along a continuum. And the far other end is anchored by everyday acts of bias and prejudice.
When it seems like Black children are mistreated for expressing anger, fear, joy, or for simply existing, it can be a daunting task to figure out how to best protect them from harm while also allowing them to live and thrive unapologetically. Here are a few things to consider from the research.
How is the current sociopolitical climate impacting at-risk LGBTQ youth? It could predict more peer victimization of LGBTQ students. Parents and school personnel can do a lot to change community or school climate.