The email from Amnesty International USA was about "human rights awakening." It was a call for action for human rights advocates and supporters to publicly recognize the person who inspired them to "rise up, speak out and defend basic rights."
The email stated that your human rights hero could be a human rights defender, a parent, a coworker, a Facebook friend, high school teacher, icons like Martin Luther King Jr., Aung San Suu Kyi, Desmond Tutu, just to name a few, or ANYONE who inspired you to care about human rights.
Readers of this blog probably already know who my hero is.
His name is Nelson Mandela.
I have previously written a few lines about this "last pure hero" and his extraordinary work to uphold human rights and a "free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities." Nelson Mandela championed the fight against apartheid in South Africa and went on to become South Africa's first democratically elected president. He paid a high price for freedom in South Africa.
After becoming president, Madiba, as he is fondly called, did not cling to power either through intimidation or rigged elections like most African leaders do, neither did he clamp down on those who mistreated and condemned him to 27 "dark years" in prison.
He received the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
In 2009, the United Nations declared 18 July Nelson Mandela International Day - in honor of the icon.
A lot has already been written about this great man. There are many books that aptly tell his story, including the following:
- Conversations with Myself, by Nelson Mandela (with foreword by Barack Obama) .
- Mandela's Way: Lessons on Life, by Richard Stengel.
- Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, by Nelson Mandela.
It is your turn to name the person who inspired you to care about human rights. Enter the name of the person who inspires you as requested by Amnesty International USA. You could win a prize - if you live in the U.S. If you do not live in the U.S., I guess you could still participate and help build the hero wall.
It is interesting to look at the wall and see who inspires people to care about human rights.
*Photo of Nelson Mandela: jokeroo.