Scientology: How We Help—Reaching Millions with Human Rights Message
The tally is in—youth in 31 countries participated in the fourth annual International Walk for Human Rights December 10, a project conceived and nurtured for the past four years by singer/songwriter Dustin McGahee, president of Youth for Human Rights Florida.
On the fourth anniversary of the International Walk for Human Rights December 10, Dustin McGahee had every right to be proud. His work to promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has reached millions in what has become a grassroots movement that circles the globe.
The story began in 2009, when McGahee, then 18, began volunteering for Youth for Human Rights (YHR), a humanitarian program supported by the Church of Scientology. His perspective changed as he learned about the subject and became aware of human rights abuses at home and abroad.
“I began to notice there was more to life than just myself, my friends and my family. A lot of people live in situations that I couldn’t imagine living in—children forced into slave labor; people imprisoned, killed and exiled only because of their beliefs—all human rights violations.”
He soon became President YHR Florida and organized petition drives, arranged for Youth for Human Rights International public service announcements to be played at events, and conducted lectures on human rights across Florida.
He was selected to represent the United States as the youth delegate to the 2009 International Youth for Human Rights Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, home of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Returning home that fall, McGahee conceived of a human rights awareness campaign—and the annual Youth for Human Rights International Walk for Human Rights was born. He decided the first walks would take place on December 10, Human Rights Day—only three months away.
He launched the project through email and social media, igniting the excitement of other Youth for Human Rights delegates who promoted it to their friends in towns and cities around the world. On December 10, more than 8,000 individuals of all ages in 12 countries participated in the first Human Rights Walk. It has expanded every year since and in 2012, there were some 60 walks in 31 countries including the United States, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, and Taiwan.
Now a Youth for Human Rights Ambassador, McGahee has participated in annual Youth for Human Rights Summits in Geneva (2010 and 2011) and Brussels (2012).
A singer/songwriter, his song, “10,000 Voices (For Human Rights),” has become the theme song for the International Walk for Human Rights.
He has carried his human rights message to more than 10,000 people through live concerts in Taiwan, Barbados, Switzerland and the United States, and has reached millions more through radio, television and newspaper articles.
For his contribution to human rights awareness, McGahee was honored in 2011 with the Youth for Human Rights Hero Award.
Scientologists on five continents engage in collaborative efforts with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations to bring about broad-scale awareness and implementation of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the world’s premier human rights document.
The Church of Scientology published the new brochure, Scientology: How We Help—United for Human Rights: Making Human Rights a Global Reality, to meet requests for more information about the human rights education and awareness initiative it supports. To learn more, visit www.Scientology.org/humanrights.
Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote, “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream,” and the Scientology religion is based on the principles of human rights. The Code of a Scientologist calls on all members of the religion to dedicate themselves “to support true humanitarian endeavors in the fields of human rights.”