October 21, 2021
By UNA-NCA’s Human Rights Committee Members Shuyang Wang and Ian Sloan

On October 13th, 2021, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the UNA-NCA’s Human Rights Committee hosted a celebration of Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s 137th birthday. With a warm welcome from UNA-NCA’s President Paula Boland, tributes from guest speakers, and breakout room interactions throughout the night, this event celebrated Eleanor’s impact on human rights protection and advocacy efforts for the second consecutive year via Zoom.

Between those moments was an innovative slideshow, accompanied by Kelly Clarkson’s “Invincible”, that allowed guests to take a journey into Eleanor’s legacy of human rights work and receive initial or continued motivation to be involved in that work. Inspiring involvement in this kind of work was also the main objective addressed by three guest speakers:

1. the DC Commission of Human Rights, addressing the importance of promoting human rights-related work to the public as a continuous necessity;

2. D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton emphasized protecting and supporting human rights by even sharing her milestone contribution to the DC statehood movement as an example of advocating for representation as a human right.

3. Dulcie Leimbach, author of Chapter 6 in UNA-USA’s A Little Known History of Advocacy and Action (2016), walked the participants through her journey of writing how Eleanor demonstrated resilience, values, and innovations during her domestic and U.N. campaign efforts

Participants were also divided into two sets of breakout rooms. The first centered on discussing how the Former First Lady's human rights advocacy could serve as a template for how to provide aid to marginalized groups during the pandemic. The second provided participants a space for expressing how articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) could apply to their contributions towards bettering our society’s implementation of laws securing the rights of self-identity, representation, and equal protection.

In addition to welcoming the attendance of current UNA-NCA members and supporters, the Human Rights Committee was also excited to receive guests new to UNA-NCA, who were interested in learning more about the efforts of Roosevelt, as well as the organization as a whole. This aforementioned openness to the public demonstrated that inclusivity and cordiality were established priorities throughout this event. To know more about the UNA-NCA membership and other volunteer opportunities, visit here.

How to get involved

The Human Rights Committee meets on the first non-holiday Monday of each month at 6:00pm, and our next meeting will take place on 11/1 at 6:00pm. If you would like to learn more about the committee and attend the next meeting, please reach out to Anna at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Christian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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