The Boca Raton event was co-sponsored by Youth for Human Rights Florida, the Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education of Florida Atlantic University, International Student and Scholar Services, and Be Aware, Share and Act for Peace.
Walkers carried signs proclaiming the 30 human rights defined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This was the first of many similar events leading up to the International Walk for Human Rights, held annually around the world on December 10.
Brazillian Drummers led the way, followed by representatives of the participating groups and many who only recently learned of the campaign.
Youth for Human Rights Florida President, 20-year-old Dustin McGahee, explained: "These events unite those around the world who speak out not only for one's own rights, but also the rights of others. The International Walk for Human Rights will have tens of thousands of people walking in more than 30 countries."
State Rep. Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach urged the groups to continue their work, stressing that "raising awareness of injustices is crucial to transforming the way people think about human rights issues."
U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch also encouraged the participants. "We can never rest on our laurels and be satisfied that work toward equal human rights is complete," he said. "We must continue to preserve the rights we hold dear to our hearts and make sure that everyone strives to educate future generations."
Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, Founder and President of Youth for Human Rights International, addressed the crowd after the walk. Having grown up during apartheid in South Africa, Dr. Shuttleworth dedicated her life to educating youth about their inherent rights, and the importance of respecting the rights of others. For the last 7 years she has traveled the globe presenting this message and educational materials on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On behalf of Youth for Human Rights Florida, Dr. Shuttleworth presented awards to Dr. Rose Gatens, Director of the Holocaust and Human Rights Center, and FAU Professor Dawn Wooten. Awards were also given to FAU students Rose Morris, Laura Facundo and Sapna Talati for their contributions to creating awareness about human rights.
Youth for Human Rights Florida is a secular non-profit organization with the mission to educate about human rights both in and out of the classroom. The uniqueness of the program lies in its educational materials, which include a youth-oriented DVD explaining the 30 human rights, created in collaboration with the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International.
To find out what are human rights go to: www.youthforhumanrights.org