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The original item was published from 12/10/2021 11:19:41 AM to 12/14/2021 12:05:03 PM.


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Posted on: December 10, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Eugene Human Rights Commission Statement on International Human Rights Day, 2021

Graphic reading All Human All Equal for International Human Rights Day

December 10, 2021, marks the 73rd anniversary of the day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In 1948, this milestone document proclaimed the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, or other birth status. This year, the United Nations has chosen the theme: “Equality - Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights.” 

While the state of human rights and equality has improved substantially since 1948, discrimination on the basis of the aforementioned identities persists. Many of our public institutions still result in disparate outcomes for members of marginalized groups. The pandemic has exposed many of these outcomes has disproportionately affected members of marginalized communities. Our city and it's leaders continue to wrestle with finding effective solutions, many of which lie at the state and national levels of government. White supremacy and white nationalism have been on the rise, and there are many elected public officials across the country who are vocal with their bigotry. Acts of white supremacist terrorism continue to target vulnerable communities. Wealth inequality and homelessness have never been more extreme. There is still much work to do, and there are many people in our community who bring their energies and passions to this work. 

This year, we who serve on the Human Rights Commission decided to revise our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Award to an annual International Human Rights Day (IHRD) Award. The IHRD Award will be awarded to a member of our community in recognition of their contribution in the area of human rights and social justice. 

The recipient of the 2021 International Human Rights Day Award is Mo Young, who was nominated by former HRC member Serena Markstrom. Mo Young is the Community Partnerships Supervisor at Lane County Public Health. In addition to her role with the county, Mo Young spends a lot of her free time advocating for people to be vaccinated, promoting local events, and spearheading fundraising and advocacy projects in her community.

Mo Young served on the HRC for seven years (1999 - 2006) and served as both Vice-Chair and Chair during her time on the Commission. She served as a staff member at Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) in 2003 and helped build the Back to Back: Allies for Human Dignity program from the ground up, which resulted in the creation of a program that serves the entire county and focuses on increasing safety and respect in the community, specifically around anti-Semitism, heterosexism, and racism.

Mo Young was one of the facilitators on last year’s Ad Hoc Committee on Police Policy, using her skills and passion to coordinate efforts among 30 committee members from diverse groups. Her tireless efforts contributed to an excellent report on a challenging issue. 

One of her recent big projects was raising money to buy Lyllye Parker a house. Parker is a longtime local resident who has helped countless students of color at the University of Oregon and has been a pillar in the black community but had not been able to buy a house. Mo found out Ms. Parker wished to buy a house and started working with a team to fundraise on her behalf. Thanks to Mo, other fundraisers, and many in the community who donated, Ms. Parker’s now is a homeowner.

The HRC congratulates Mo Young on the award and is truly grateful for her contributions to human rights in Eugene. 

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