Delaware Human Rights Activist Receives International Human Rights Award
Human rights activist honored for her work at the 20th anniversary conference of Youth for Human Rights held in celebration of Human Rights Day 2021.
Delaware business executive and human rights ambassador Ellen Firestone was honored with the Youth for Human Rights International Human Rights Award at an event commemorating the group’s 20th anniversary. An ardent voice for human rights, for the past decade Firestone has delivered workshops and talks on the theme “Human Rights: from Education to Action.” She launched her own human rights podcast and has served in several human rights NGOs. In all, she has reached more than 80,000 with her human rights message and received the 2018 President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award for contributing more than 500 hours to promoting human rights.
Firestone received her Human Rights Award at the Youth for Human Rights International 20th Anniversary Global Online Conference. It was also a celebration of Human Rights Day and the 73rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). More than 1,600 guests from 97 nations attended the event.
“It has been an amazing journey over the past decade to be able to educate both youth and adults on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the ease and simplicity of the Youth for Human Rights materials,” said Firestone on receiving her award. “I was privileged to meet so many dedicated people along the way.”
Firestone started her human rights journey in 2007 when she and her son attended the 3rd International Human Rights Summit in Los Angeles organized by Youth for Human Rights International. She was inspired by the youth advocates and guest speakers and deeply moved by the Youth for Human Rights public service announcements. She realized “the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an incredible document that must be globally known.”
“This document and work is more important today than when it was in 1948 when the UN General Assembly first adopted the UDHR. In the U.S., slavery was abolished in 1865,” she said. But human trafficking is still with us today, and “modern-day slavery is a horrendous crime.” Firestone spoke of the importance of raising awareness to end slavery once and for all. “We at Youth for Human Rights International have a tremendous responsibility to continue this important work of educating all people on the UDHR.”
To make human rights a reality, Firestone has served on the Advisory Board of the Global Education Motivators (GEM), an International NGO based in Philadelphia which she represented at the Annual United Nations Teachers Conference on Human Rights at the UN in New York. She presented the Youth for Human Rights International videos and educational materials at that conference.
Firestone has also been a member of Citizen Diplomacy International and the United Nations Association of Greater Philadelphia for the past 10 years. In 2018 she was elected to the National Council of the United Nations Association of the USA where she cochaired the Partnerships and Collaborations Committee during her two-year term.
“The most common question I hear in my human rights workshops is ‘Why didn’t we ever learn this before?’” says Firestone. “With knowledge comes responsibility. We have the important job of continuing to educate people on their human rights so they can promote and protect them for themselves and others.”
The International Human Rights Day and Youth for Human Rights 20th Anniversary Global Online Conference is available online through the Youth for Human Rights International Facebook.
Over the past 20 years, Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) has grown to a worldwide movement of 150 groups, clubs and chapters; partnered with 1,500 organizations and government agencies across 92 nations; educated 1.7 million youth with its educational materials, reached over 700 million people; and left its mark at every level of society. YHRI acknowledges all its outstanding human rights advocates, partners and volunteers whose purpose is to make the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights widely known. And it gives special thanks to its main sponsor, the Church of Scientology.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
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