INSPIRE: Individuals and communities must identify meaning and purpose to inspire themselves and others to develop and grow as human rights leaders, educators, and activists.
KNOW: Individuals and communities must know their human rights and responsibilities. such knowledge is itself empoering and an important building block for learning.
VALUE: Individuals and communities must value human rights. If human beings do respect the dignity of themselves and others, a safe space for developing and sharing is created.
CONNECT: Human beings need to connect both with their full self (mind, body, heart, and spirit) as well as with other people. How one relates with oneself and others determins whether the individual and community will grow to their full potentials and provide ways to reenergize each other.
HEAL: Every individual and community has suffered loss and pain. In order for the community to thrive, the individual and the collective group must both learn to heal through internal analysis, story telling, sharing with one another, and learning new ways.
ACT: Human beings, both individually and collectively, need to act to improve and realize their human rights. Practicing what one might feel or know is “right” empowers the individual and community with an acknowledgement of justice.
REFLECT: Individuals and communities must reflect on the other seven characteristics of the Human Rights Learning Community Wheel. For example, have their values and actions led to improvements of human rights conditions for themselves and others? What have they learned, individually and collectively?
CELEBRATE: Individuals and communities must take time to celebrate ways they have been working to foster respect for human dignity and the rights of others. The recognition of the time, commitment, and dedication must be adequately supported for the individuals and community to feel revitalized and cherished.
(Excerpted from: The Human Rights Education Handbook: Effective Practices for Learning Action and Change. Human Rights Resource Center, University of Minnesota, Minn. MN, 2000)
In using the Learning Community Wheel, here are some questions the individuals and the community may discuss and consider:
INSPIRE: What does Human Rights mean to you/me? What is the purpose of your/my work as Human Rights leaders?
KNOW: Discuss “What are Human Rights Principles?”
VALUE: What rights are valued? How is sharing created and valued?
CONNECT: How do I see myself in connection to others?
ACT: What actions can I take that empower myself and others?
HEAL: What stories need to be told?
REFLECT: Did we achieve our intent?
CELEBRATE: How can we celebrate our growth, learning, and development, both individually and as a community? How can we invite others to celebrate our achievements and encourage their involvement with us?
Please contact the Mental Health Empowerment Project at 518-434-1393 for assistance in starting a Human Rights Learning Community in your area! Visit our Learning Communities page for more information on developing Learning Communities.