How young is too young to be a human rights activist?

Planing an event?  Not sure whether the subject matter is appropriate for the youngsters?  Just how young is too young to become aware that life can be fraught with dangers for those who live in many parts of the world?  While this is a question for each parent/guardian to answer on an individual basis, the local Aurora/Newmarket Action Group decided it was important to provide an opportunity for youngsters to be introduced to the subject of human rights.  As one of our  members explains:

When planning an event it can be easy to overlook children. There are many reasons, in addition to being inclusive, to make children welcome at your event. A positive, age-appropriate introduction to human rights can plant a seed that sprouts later in life. Adults might not attend an event if they feel that the children they care for are not welcome, or might come but struggle to participate if the children are not occupied. Finally, a children’s event can draw in adults that might not otherwise think to come. Our solution was to offer a “Community Art Project” at our Oct 13 Write for Rights event held in partnership with the Aurora Public Library. The setup consisted of low tables with a selection of human rights books, simple art supplies, and a worksheet with an Amnesty dove shape and the question “What peace means to me”. We strategically placed the children’s table in clear view of the adult’s tables, but far enough to avoid overhearing age inappropriate case descriptions from the adult table. Children were invited to post their art on a library wall. The response was phenomenal, allowing us to engage more than three dozen children including a group of Brownies that attended. Many of the families who participated were library patrons, who were attracted to the children’s activity but then engaged us to learn about Amnesty International. We look forward to extending this by offering a “Children’s Corner” at our main Write for Rights event on Dec 8.

We did indeed have a “Children’s Corner” at our main Write for Rights event held on December 8 with one of our members and his daughter offering an activity.  (Thanks MC and JC.)   For ongoing activities and events for teens, click here.       We look forward to continued involvement of the young people.