North Central Texas College will present the second annual “Focus on Human Rights” program on Monday, April 14 in the Student Activities Center on the Gainesville campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students enrolled in the college humanities course, Human Rights, will be joined by a variety of local organizations to share information about the work being done to improve quality of life in our community, our state, our nation and our world.
Students in the course are required to select a human rights activist organization and follow its work for a semester. Then they prepare brochures and visual displays and set up tables on campus to distribute information about the group.
“My goal is to introduce them to the hard work necessary to achieve social change and to demonstrate that individuals, like them, can make a big difference,” NCTC professor Dr. Pat Ledbetter said. “As Margaret Mead pointed out, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’”
To demonstrate the power of individuals working together, the class invites local organizations to participate by passing out information and explaining their work to students and community members. Organizations such as Red Cross, Abigail’s Arms, CASA, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and Boys and Girls Club will be available to share their aspirations for our community.
“For this project, we define ‘human rights’ very broadly,” Ledbetter said. “Most of the students select national and international organizations, but I think that often so widens the focus that we risk losing sight of what is being done in our own neighborhoods. Many years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt, noted that human rights begin in ‘small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, and equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the large world.’”
Ledbetter noted that local communities have many men and women working every day toward that progress.
“This gives the college an opportunity to acknowledge their work and spread their messages,” she said.
Tables will be set up in the Activities Center by 11 a.m. In the Little Theater (adjacent to the Activities Center), each group will present a brief description of its work.
Anyone interested in participating by setting up a table are asked to contact Pat Ledbetter at 940-668-4235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.