Elie Weisel once said, "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
Standing up for others is always a noble cause, which is why our theme of the month for February is Human Rights and Equality. By encouraging kids and teens to stand up for everyone, in their own communities and around the world, they're able to develop empathy, show they care and take action through service and advocacy.
One girl taking a stand is Paloma Rabana. A 2016 Hasbro Community Action Hero, she was born with a rare eye condition that qualifies her as legally blind. When she started researching what resources were available for kids with visually impairments, she found a gap: while kids under 5 years old or between 14-18 years old could get supplemental vision services, those ages 6-13 were left out.
She decided to take action. Paloma started a campaign called "Fund the Gap," asking the Florida legislature to fund the Division of Blind Services (DBS) Children's Program to help 340 kids ages 6-13. In 2015, Paloma met with legislators to gain support and funding, wrote a letter to the editor and op-ed, and led two rallies to spread the word about how badly this assistance is needed.
Paloma's hard work paid off. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed off on $1.25 million ($500,000 recurring annually) to support 340 visually-impaired or blind kids between the ages of 6-13!
Paloma's story serves as a reminder that advocacy is a powerful tool in the fight for human rights and equality. You can make lasting change in your community, regardless of your age. It's always the right time to stand up for individual and group rights.
Want a step by step guide of how to advocate for your cause? Check out our project of the month, "Advocating for Change," which is based on Paloma's successful campaign to get started!
Looking for more ways to stand up for human rights and equality or to fight discrimination?
- Learn more about human rights and equality with this fact sheet!
- Check out our "Rally Around a Cause" project to organize a rally in your community!
- Our "Tolerance Condensed" project fights hunger and embraces differences at the same time!
- Foster inclusion with our "Making and Celebrating Friendships" project!
- Practice identifying and valuing difference with our "Embracing Diversity" activity!
- Use these lesson plans from our curriculum partner, Learning to Give!