This year on Human Rights Day, December 10, we are continuing our collective commitment towards reducing inequalities and advancing human rights for all — because everyone in our community deserves to have the same opportunities to improve their well-being.

COVID-19 has taken inequities that many previously were unaware of and put them centre stage. Social isolation has taken its toll on those with existing mental health conditions, domestic violence rates increased and those already struggling in poverty had their situation worsened.

In Niagara, we know 1 in 7 people are living in poverty, thousands of them are children. Poverty is a complex social issue and experiencing and living in poverty will affect every aspect of a person’s life. People in our community who live in poverty face challenges relating to child development, access to education and support services, housing, employment, food security and overall physical and mental health and well-being. Deep-rooted forms of discrimination create additional challenges for some of our most vulnerable citizens, including women and girls, Indigenous peoples, visible and ethnic minorities, LGTBQ2S+ people, migrants and people with disabilities, among others.

Together, we can affect important change in Niagara, starting with addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality in our own communities. Many this holiday will not have a home to call their own, will struggle to put food on the table and will suffer from untreated mental illness. Through our strong network of local funded agencies partners and special initiatives, we can ensure that when the pandemic is behind us we don’t just return to “normal”, but something better.

So, how can you take part in Human Rights Day?

Learning about human rights can help develop knowledge and attitudes that empower us to stand up for our own rights and also fight for equality for others.

  1. Visit the United Nations Human Rights Day website and learn more.
  2. Watch a film from the Human Rights Playlist curated by the National Film Board of Canada.
  3. Support local non-profit organizations, like United Way, who focus on ending poverty locally.