D.C. Scientologists Raise Human Rights Awareness on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Washington, D.C. Scientologists marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by organizing a daylong project to promote human rights awareness.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is set aside, not as a “day off” but as a day “on” in service to the community, and D.C. Scientologists and friends joined forces to forward Dr. King’s vision of freedom and dignity for all through respect of human rights.
More than 40 volunteers of all ages began the day of service at the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office at Fraser Mansion with a reading from the works of Dr. King and a rousing rendition of “We Shall Overcome.” Volunteers, including staff and parishioners of the Founding Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C., and the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, Georgetown Law School students, staff of the Rebecca Project for Human Rights and their families, then donned Youth for Human Rights T-shirts and hats and headed for the National Mall with bags filled with thousands of copies of “The Story of Human Rights” and “What Are Human Rights?” booklets.
Hundreds of thousands had gathered for the presidential inauguration and parade, and volunteers handed out thousands of copies of the booklets to local residents and visitors to D.C. from across the United States and countries around the world. Often, people would come back and ask the volunteers for more booklets for their family and friends.
“A man from Ivory Coast liked the booklet so much, he took a stack of them to bring to teachers back home,” said one of the volunteers. Another said, “I handed a booklet to one guy and he took the last 25 from my hands and proceeded to enthusiastically pass them out for me.”
One volunteer asked people if they knew their human rights and then gave them the booklets so they could find out. She was surprised to learn that many people could not name any of their rights.
“People can only demand their rights and defend and protect the rights of others when they understand what human rights are,” said Jesse Morrow, Social Reform Director of the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office, who organized the day’s activities. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most comprehensive description of human rights, but many, especially young people, find the prospect of reading the Declaration intimidating. That is why United for Human Rights provides booklets and videos to make it possible for anyone to understand the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
“The Story of Human Rights” booklet outlines the history of human rights and includes the full text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the “What Are Human Rights?” booklet contains an illustrated version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that can be readily understood by young people. These booklets, a series of public service announcements and a human rights documentary are distributed as part of the human rights program supported by the Church of Scientology—United for Human Rights and its youth component, Youth for Human Rights International.
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 has published a 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 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.”