150+ Ways To Take Action For Human Rights

Governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. However, you also have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others. #advocate #activism #blacklivesmatter #activismaesthetic #educational

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“Every individual and every organ of society … shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance.”

– Universal Declaration of Human Rights | United Nations

This guide is split into different human rights focuses.

Under each section, you can find great ways to take action in as little as 10 minutes, a few hours, a month, or even in a year or longer!

General Human Rights

Governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. However, you also have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others. #advocate #activism #blacklivesmatter #activismaesthetic #educational

The Basics:

  • Shop ethically with our ethical living & activism resource directory
  • Stop going on trips that are marketed at “humanitarian trips”. You might have good intentions, but the companies that run the trips don’t. The damage that you end up inflicting on the mental and economic state of the communities you are trying to help is very difficult to repair in the long-term. (What to do instead)
  • Make sure your fashion choices are respectful and culturally appropriate
    • Cultural appropriation = disrespecting the culture something originated from and disrespecting the original meaning behind it
    • Ask yourself: “Is this item respecting the culture & meaning it is representing/originated from?”

Get involved for 10 MINUTES

  • Get the Facts. Learn about what human rights are connected to your problem. You can do that by downloading a copy of the UDHR and choosing the human rights most relevant to your cause of importance.
  • Stay Informed. It’s important to continuously educate yourself about the things you care about. You can…
    • Check the Human Rights Watch or sign up to receive their alerts
    • Read/watch the news from other countries to get a new perspective on what’s happening in your area
    • Browse social media by location of an event on Instagram and Twitter so that you see footage of events from public citizens without bias from media outlets
    • Follow organizations on social media
  • Donate.  Make a donation to an organization that protects human rights. Keep scrolling for a big list of human rights organizations.
  • No Money? Stream To Donate. If you don’t have money to donate, you can stream videos with ads – like this one – in which all money earned from the videos will be donated to organizations and charity funds listed in the video.
  • Send a text. In just 2 minutes, you can send a text that will be delivered as a printed letter to elected officials that you choose (state representatives, members of Congress, and even the president). It’s free and supported by donations. Not creative? Click here to view and send copies of letters that are being written in real-time.
  • Send an Email.  Send a pre-written email to your elected official expressing your views on current legislation. It takes as little as 3 minutes! Amnesty International’s website and ACLU’s website has excellent pre-written emails for the most recent human rights injustices all over the world.
  • Sign a Petition. Signing a petition takes less than 5 minutes. Visit this website for the most up-to-date global social injustice petitions.
  • Follow a Bill. Track a piece of legislation that addresses a domestic human rights policy issue. There are many sites that give you immediate updates on the progress of legislation including GovTrack
  • Support With Merch. Purchasing merchandise from trusted organizations can support their initiatives and also let you make a statement. Get a sticker or button that promotes a human rights issue and put it on your car, bike, skateboard, or notebook to show your support.
  • Tweet, Connect, Socialize. Connect with others with your social media platform as a tool for organizing, connecting and creating change. It can be as simple as keeping your friends and family updated on things you are passionate about or sharing resources that can help.
  • Join a Group. Become a fan or join a Facebook, Twitter, or another social networking group that addresses a human rights issue. Keep scrolling for a big list of human rights organizations. Or, search our regularly updated directory for more human rights organizations.

Get involved for a FEW HOURS

  • Write a real letter.  Research and write a personal letter to the editor of your local newspaper or to elected officials who can make a change. Amnesty International has a great starter kit with templates, stationary, and tips. Click here and scroll down until you see the “get the write for rights kit” section to download the kit.
  • Educate others. It is never to early or too late to explain the reality of human rights injustice. Why? Because the people you are educating are humans, too. A Kids Book About™ has excellent kid-friendly books that do a great job at illustrating and explaining tough topics. (They work well when explaining topics to adults, too!)
  • Research & Vote. Exercise your right to vote and support local, state, and national legislators who advocate for human rights. Track every political candidate’s positions with the non-partisan project Vote Smart. You’ll be able to see all of a candidate’s biographies, issue positions, voting records, public statements, ratings and their funders.
  • Join a Campaign That Offers Scholarships. Do Something offers scholarship prizes to people who join their campaigns as an incentive for people to voice their beliefs.
  • Watch a Film or Video.  Watch a film that addresses a human rights issue. You can even invite friends and neighbors. Go to our ethical living directory and search for human rights movies, videos, and documentaries about various human rights issues.
  • Join a Mutual Aid Group. Mutual aid is all about all of humanity working together to meet all of our needs. There are mutual aid groups all over the world. You can go here and here to find mutual groups near you.
  • Give a Presentation. Ask a human rights organization to give a presentation at your school, church, or community organization to raise awareness and encourage more people to get involved. You could also give your own presentation!  
  • Participate in a Human Rights Day Event. Human Rights Day is celebrated every year on December 10th. Volunteer for your local celebration. Can’t find any?Collaborate with several organizations and plan an event in your community.

Get involved for a MONTH

  • Inform Others.  Create an educational mural, poster or flyer with statistics, stories, and other attention grabbing information on a human rights issue.  Distribute it in your city, school, or workplace. 
  • Start a film club. You can do this in-person or virtually through Discord or Zoom (like a virtual concert!). Invite friends or other activists to watch films that explore human rights. Then facilitate a discussion following the film.
  • Start a Petition Drive. Petitions are a great way to raise awareness about an issue, a piece of legislation, or a specific organization. Here’s a guide on how to start a petition drive.
  • Start a Campaign. Encourage your representatives to back rights-based legislation.  Organize a letter writing campaign.  Gather friends, family, and other members of your personal network to write letters and make phone calls.  Find your representatives at here.  For writing tips, click here.  
  • Host a Film Festival on Human Rights. Download a planning guide on setting up a human rights film festival from One World International. They host an annual human rights film festival and show others how to do it, too!
  • Volunteer.  Search around your community for local food banks, shelters, homes for the elderly, and other organizations that work to promote human rights for all.  Find opportunities at Volunteer Match.
  • Hold a Fundraiser. Raise money and awareness for an organization that is addressing an important human rights issue. Here are some fundraising ideas:
    • bake sale
    • virtual music concert
    • photo exhibit
    • car wash
    • pancake breakfast
    • silent auction
    • walkathon
    • art show
    • bingo night
    • anything that sounds fun for you and your community

Get involved for A YEAR OR MORE

  • Start a Book Club. Be like Oprah! Focus on a different human rights issue each month. For example…
    • Focus on the death penalty and read A Lesson Before Dying or Dead Man Walking
    • Focus on poverty and economic justice and read Nickel and Dimed or Growing Up Empty
    • Search the “books” and “human rights” tags in our directory for book ideas about all types of human rights issues!
  • Run for Office. Take the big step in the human rights movement by making policies that protect our rights. Visit Run For Office to learn how to do so in the United States.
  • Write a Blog. Highlight different human rights issues, current events, and breaking news.
  • Document more.  Monitor and gather stories about a human rights abuse in your community. Document what you find in a film or report. Here’s how to safely film police. 
  • Volunteer.  Search around your community for local food banks, shelters, homes for the elderly, and other organizations that work to promote human rights for all.  Find opportunities at Volunteer Match.

You have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others

Minority Rights

Governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. However, you also have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others. #advocate #activism #blacklivesmatter #activismaesthetic #educational

If you have 10 MINUTES

  • Check your biases. Even as an ally who fights for racial equality and justice, it’s still easy to let our biases go unchecked. This article will help you test your unchecked biases.
  • Educate yourself. Whether you are a minority or a trusted ally, you must constantly educate yourself about how you can help current victims of racial injustice and push for reform. Here are some great resources:
  • Stay informed. Injustice towards minorities often goes unreported. It is imperative to stay informed by multiple sources – especially people within the minority community.
  • Join Campaign Zero. Police brutality is more violent and prevalent among minorities. Campaign Zero works to end police violence.
  • Send an Email. Send a pre-written email to your representatives to push them to support policies against racial injustice. In just 2 minutes, you can send a text that will be delivered as a printed letter to elected officials that you choose (state representatives, members of Congress, and even the president). It’s free and supported by donations. Not creative? Click here to view and send copies of letters that are being written in real-time.
  • Donate.  Make a donation to an organization that protects human rights. Keep scrolling for a big list of human rights organizations.
  • No Money? Stream To Donate. If you don’t have money to donate, you can stream videos with ads – like this one – in which all money earned from the videos will be donated to organizations and charity funds listed in the video.

If you have a FEW HOURS

  • Educate others. It is never to early or too late to explain the reality of human rights injustice. Why? Because the people you are educating are humans, too. A Kids Book About™ has excellent kid-friendly books that do a great job at illustrating and explaining tough topics. (They work well when explaining topics to adults, too!) Here is their kids book on racism.
  • Support businesses run by minorities. Look for businesses that you can support online or near you. For example, here is a list of 25 black-owned bookstores that you can check out today!
  • Watch a Film. Go to our directory to find videos and documentaries that cover various racial injustice topics. Or, find a wide variety of films in The Biggest, Free Black History Library run by Charles Preston.

Get involved for a MONTH

Get involved for A YEAR OR MORE

  • Run for Office. Minorities need to be represented so that our communities can be properly represented in government systems. Being a representative can ensure that the rights of minorities are protected. Visit Run For Office to learn how to do so in the United States.
  • Volunteer. Use your time to help others at a location that helps minorities. Visit Volunteer Match to find a position.

Children’s Rights

Governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. However, you also have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others. #advocate #activism #blacklivesmatter #activismaesthetic #educational

Get involved for 10 MINUTES

  • Get the News. Receive news and action opportunities from child rights organizations like:
  • Send an Email. Send a pre-written email to your Senators supporting important human and child rights issues. Amnesty International’s website and ACLU’s website has excellent pre-written emails that you can send in as little as 3 minutes!
  • Donate. Give to an organization advocating for children’s rights. Keep scrolling for a list of children’s rights organizations (domestic and international). Or search the “children’s rights” for more organizations in our directory for a more up-to-date list.

Get involved for a FEW HOURS

  • Watch a Film. Learn about children’s rights and violations of children’s rights through watching a film such as TPT and Amherst A. Wilder Foundation’s video “Homeless Youth: Finding Home.” You can find more children’s rights videos and films by searching “children’s rights” in our directory for a more up-to-date list.
  • Write a Letter. Research and write a personal letter to your federal representatives urging ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In just 2 minutes, you can send a text that will be delivered as a printed letter to elected officials that you choose (state representatives, members of Congress, and even the president). It’s free and supported by donations.
  • Educate. Educate others in your family or community about children’s rights. The International Justice Resource Center has a great section on the national and international rights of children.

Get involved for a MONTH

Get involved for A YEAR OR MORE

  • Be a Mentor. You can be a responsible role model and make a lasting impact in a child’s life. There are organizations that match adults with children who need a mentor. Try Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. You can also be a mentor to a family member or family friend. It all makes a difference.
  • Run for Office. Children need to be represented and do not have the ability to run for office themselves. Being an active child’s rights advocate and policymaker can ensure that the rights of children are protected. Visit Run For Office to learn how to do so in the United States.
  • Volunteer. Use your time to help others at a location that helps children. Visit Volunteer Match to find a position.

Human Rights To Education

Governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. However, you also have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others. #advocate #activism #blacklivesmatter #activismaesthetic #educational

If you have 10 MINUTES

If you have a FEW HOURS

  • Write a Letter. Research and write a personal letter to your federal representative urging them to ensure that all people have equal access to quality schools and higher education. In just 2 minutes, you can send a text that will be delivered as a printed letter to elected officials that you choose (state representatives, members of Congress, and even the president). It’s free and supported by donations.
  • Educate Others. This page on Their World gives a great breakdown on the right to education. You can use the information to make a presentation at your school, community center, or faith community about the right to education.
  • Give Books and Materials to Teachers. Oftentimes, teachers don’t have enough classroom supplies and teaching materials, and must spend their own money to stock their classroom. You can visit Adopt a Classroom to find out what your local teachers might need that you could donate.
  • Give Food and School Supplies to Students. Snacks, clothing, and school supplies are all important to a child’s ability to learn in a safe and productive environment. You can call your local schools to ask what their students need. You can also donate school supplies online through UNICEF or the Kids In Need Foundation.

If you have a MONTH

  • Monitor Your School District. Research how well your local schools are performing by examining
    • student achievement
    • gaps between students of different racial or economic backgrounds
    • budgets and curriculum
  • Present at a School Board Meeting. Try to get on the agenda for a local school board meeting and give a brief presentation on the right to education and what your community can do to close the education gap and promote equal treatment in the school system.
  • Start a Book Club. Form a book club with friends and/or colleagues to learn about and discuss the right to education in the United States.

If you have a YEAR OR MORE

  • Promote Student Engagement in School Reform. Do you work for a school? You can encourage meaningful student involvement and engage students as partners in school reform. Visit Sound Out for tools and information for students, educators, and advocates.
  • Volunteer at Your Local School. Help out with school-sponsored fundraisers, after school activities or field trips. Get to know teachers and administrators and speak with them about their needs, as well as your questions and concerns.
  • Be a Mentor. Encourage kids in your community to succeed in school through an organization like the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Or check if your local school or community nonprofit runs a tutoring program for struggling students. Many school districts and universities run these programs.
  • Run for School Board. Run for your school district’s education board or, if you are still in school, your student government. This way, you can use your position to advocate for closing the education gap, promoting higher graduation rates, and improving state funding for everyone’s right to education.

Human Rights To Healthcare

Governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. However, you also have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others. #advocate #activism #blacklivesmatter #activismaesthetic #educational

If you have 10 MINUTES

  • Learn the Facts. Here is a factsheet by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the human right to healthcare. You can also find a resource library on healthcare rights here and here.
  • Stay Informed. Sign up for news and action information on the right to health in the U.S.
  • Send a text. In just 2 minutes, you can send a text that will be delivered as a printed letter to elected officials that you choose (state representatives, members of Congress, and even the president). It’s free and supported by donations. Not creative? Click here to view and send copies of letters that are being written in real-time.
  • Take Action Online. Send an e-mail to your representative online. Check out Families USA for great action resources including a health policy advocacy kit and other actions you can t towards healthcare rights.
  • Donate. You can help pay off medical debt through RIP Medical Debt – every $10 donated forgives $1,000 of medical debt! If you want to donate to advocacy groups and other non-profits, search the keyword “healthcare rights” in our directory for an up-to-date list.
  • Endorse a Campaign. Pledge your support for healthcare as a public good and a human right in the U.S. at Dignity and Rights.
  • Share Resources. Use your social media platform to spread resources and support for access to quality and fair healthcare.

If you have a FEW HOURS

  • Write a Letter. Research and write a personal letter to your federal representative urging them to ensure that every American has access to adequate and affordable health care. You can even send a text that will be delivered as a printed letter to elected officials that you choose (state representatives, members of Congress, and even the president). It’s free and supported by donations.
    • If you want to write your own letter, Amnesty USA has a letter template that you can use.
  • Host a Speaker. Find a local health care advocate to talk about the uninsured, universal health care, international health care systems, or issues with public and private health insurance in the U.S. Panel discussions by uninsured individuals sharing their experiences can also have a tremendous impact.

If you have a MONTH

  • Host a Film Screening. Invite members of your community to watch a documentary on the right to health in the U.S. Visit PBS for some free healthcare documentaries. Here are some other suggestions:
  • Host a Forum. Organize a community meeting between health care professionals and low-income, minority or other under-represented groups. Discuss the obstacles and potential solutions for meeting everyone’s health care needs.
  • Hold a Fundraiser. Raise money and raise awareness for an organization that is addressing important health care concerns. Here are some fundraising ideas:
    • bake sale
    • virtual music concert
    • photo exhibit
    • car wash
    • pancake breakfast
    • silent auction
    • walkathon
    • art show
    • bingo night
    • anything that sounds fun for you and your community

If you have A YEAR OR MORE

  • Join a Campaign. Here is an advocacy kit from Healthcare Is A Human Right that you get you started. You can truly influence change in a system that can sometimes be discriminatory. Check out Dignity and Rights and search the keyword “healthcare rights” in our directory to find campaigns to join.
  • Volunteer. Donate your time to a local hospital or health care nonprofit. Healthcare settings are always looking for helpers who can escort hospital visitors, provide support to cancer patients, or work as a community health educator. Find opportunities at Volunteer Match or Healthcare Volunteer.
  • Document. Everyone knows someone who has struggled with a healthcare professional or with the healthcare system. Document stories so that you can use them to educate health care professionals and governments officials. You can…
    • Monitor the right to health in your community
    • Gather stories from individuals about their experiences with the health care system
    • Document their stories through film
    • Write a report on gathered stories

Human Rights To Food

Governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. However, you also have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others. #advocate #activism #blacklivesmatter #activismaesthetic #educational

If you have 10 MINUTES

  • Learn the Facts. Here are some quick facts about food access. You can also find a factsheet by the World Health Organization about nutrition and food security.
  • Donate Food. Donate food or money to people in need. Visit Feeding America to donate in the US. Or download the United Nations Share The Meal app to donate food to people all around the world. $0.50 can feed a child for 1 day!
  • Get the News. Sign up for news and action information on the right to food in the U.S. from anti-hunger organizations like the Food Research & Action Center
  • Read Food Labels. Read the nutrition and ingredients label on your favorite foods. Try to avoid eating foods with complicated, hard-to-pronounce ingredients such as partially hydrogenated oil or high fructose corn syrup. Here is a quick guide on how to read a nutrition label and what to look for.
  • Send a Text. It takes as little as 2 minutes! You can send a text that will be delivered as a printed letter to elected officials that you choose (state representatives, members of Congress, and even the president). It’s free and supported by donations.
  • Send a Pre-Written Email. Send pre-written emails like this one that urge government officials to fight hunger.
  • Share this free ebook on how to eat well on $4/day. Spread the word! Your shares could help out a hungry family or even inspire people to share similar resources to spread awareness about food and nutrition insecurity.

If you have a FEW HOURS

  • Write a Letter. Research and write a personal letter to your federal representative urging them to ensure that every person has access to safe and healthy food. Visit the Food Research & Action Center to learn more about upcoming legislation affecting the right to food.
  • Educate. Use food justice advocacy kits like this and get up-to-date information about nutritious food security from sources like Action Against Hunger. Turn that information into educational resources that you can share with your community and other activists.
  • Participate in Hunger Action Month. In September, get involved in awareness-raising activities like volunteering, sharing resources, and documentary screenings. Sign up here to receive updates from Feeding America on how to get involved.

If you have a MONTH

  • Organize A Food Drive. Invite members of your town, office, school, or faith community to make a difference by collecting food. Then, contact a local food bank that needs your support, create a theme, create a goal, contact donors (i.e. grocery stores), schedule volunteers, and invite others to participate. Here are some quick tips on how to host a food drive.
  • Start a Film Club. Show a film each month about the right to food to your school, community organization, or faith community and have a discussion afterwards. Here are some film ideas:
  • Complete the Food Stamp Challenge. Do it alone or recruit your friends, community leaders, and local government officials to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge. The challenge is to have people try to live on the average U.S. weekly food stamp allowance (by SNAP) of ~$21 per person. Here is a guide with extra resources on how to get started.

If you have A YEAR OR MORE

  • Encourage Schools To Adopt “Farm To School” Programs. Build a coalition of supporters and lobby your local school administration to start incorporating food from local farms. Visit Farm To School for more information and guides on creating your own farm to school program.
  • Volunteer Regularly. Help provide food for the homeless or elderly. You can use Volunteer Match or call your local food bank and homeless shelter to see if they need help serving and preparing meals.
  • Plant a Garden. Start growing fruits and vegetables in your backyard, or find space in a community garden. By growing your own produce, you control the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and minimize the carbon costs involved in transporting food. Here is a beginner’s guide to planting your own garden.
  • Start a Community Garden. Building a community garden can make a huge difference to the food insecurity in many areas. Check the American Community Garden Association for expert tips on how to get started.

PIN IT: Save For Later!

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Human Rights board OR Activism Tips board on Pinterest.

Governments have the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting human rights. However, you also have the power and responsibility to ensure human rights for yourself and for others. #advocate #activism #blacklivesmatter #activismaesthetic #educational

SOURCES: FIC at the National Health Institute, Borgen Project, The Advocates For Human Rights, AMSA

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