human rights 8

Getting Started

The social work profession places great importance on the concept of human rights. The profession is concerned particularly with social and economic justice, the representation and support of vulnerable or oppressed segments of the population, and direct action strategies to bring about positive change for the disenfranchised. The social work profession’s Code of Ethics emphasizes human dignity, self-determination, social justice, and social change—all necessary to promote human rights.

Upon successful completion of this discussion, you will be able to:

  • Apply principles of social, economic, and environmental justice to advocate for human rights. (PO 3)
  • Demonstrate character, scholarship, and leadership in becoming a world changer through application to personal life and professional social work practice.
  • Demonstrate Christ-like attitudes, values, worldviews, and ethical and professional behavior within advanced clinical practice. (ILO 1)

Resources

  • Video: TED Talks: Bryan Stevenson—We Need to Talk About an Injustice: http://tinyurl.com/ha5lnz5.

Background Information

In this assignment, you will watch a TED Talk video by human rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who leads us on a journey rich in history. He encourages you to take off the blinders and move out of your comfort zone to explore how people of color are treated in the criminal justice system. He boldly labels the past injustices of racism, discrimination, and violence as terrorism. He discusses an apparent disconnect when it comes to the marginalization of the disenfranchised. With cameo appearances by his grandmother and Rosa Parks, Stevenson shares some hard truths about America’s justice system, starting with a massive imbalance along racial lines: a third of the country’s black male population has been incarcerated at some point in their lives. Challenge yourself while watching the video to formulate advocacy strategies to change policy.

Reflect on these questions:

  • Should every person residing in the United States enjoy the same basic rights?
  • What human rights issues have you encountered personally or professionally?
  • What role does culture play in determining the validity of a human right?
  • Should some human rights be more important than others?

Social workers may believe erroneously that the study of human rights is mainly for lawyers and the courts. However, social worker advocates can ensure that human rights issues come to the forefront and quantifiable progress is made outside of the complex legal system.


Instructions

  1. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
  2. Watch the video “TED Talks: Bryan Stevenson—We Need to Talk About an Injustice.” You also can download and view the TED Talks: Bryan Stevenson—We Need to Talk About an Injustice Video Transcript.pdf file.
    1. If you are not already logged in to the Off-Campus Library Services (OCLS) website, you will be prompted to enter your MyIWU login and password.
  3. Navigate to the threaded discussion and respond to the following:
    1. What progress have we made in advancing advocacy for social, economic, and environmental human rights?
    2. How can we continue this progress, and how can social work students and practitioners play a role?