Tennessee Celebrates International Human Rights Day 2021 on December 9

(l-r) Zulfat Suara, Judge Rachel Bell, Rev. Enoch Fuzz, and Timothy Hughes

Tennesseans typically gather each year around December 10th to celebrate International Human Rights Day. During the event, leaders are acknowledged and awards go to human rights champions in three categories: Rising Advocate, Outstanding Service, and Lifetime Achievement. A committee of human rights organizations, nonprofits, and advocates, including the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Metro Human Relations Commission, Tennessee United for Human Rights, the Church of Scientology, and others, work together each year to plan the event. This year, the committee opted to hold the event virtually for the second year in a row.

The event will be held online on Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time and run for about one hour. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. They will send login information to all registrants prior to the event. Register now for the Tennessee Celebration of International Human Rights Day at the Tennessee United for Human Rights website: https://tnuhr.org/

Beverly Watts, director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, will serve as master of ceremonies for the affair. Mel Fowler-Green, director of the Metro Human Relations Commission, will comment on this year’s theme: “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Foundation for Dignity.” A Question & Answer session incorporating the theme will be moderated by David Plazas of the Tennessean, and Plazas will pose questions to Zulfat Suara, a 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Service Award for Human Rights and the first Muslim elected to Nashville’s Metro Council.

The Rising Advocate Awards will go to Timothy Hughes, an activist who works at the intersection of public policy & social justice; and to Joseph Gutierrez, the Education Program Officer at the Dan and Margaret Maddox Fund who also coordinates the work of API Middle Tennessee, an Asian & Pacific Islander-serving community-based organization.

The Outstanding Service Award will go to Judge Rachel Bell who has served as a judge since 2012, during which time she established a community court that has a mission to focus on preventive, diversionary, and restorative justice initiatives to move the needle for marginalized people.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards are going to Ms. Andrea Conte, former first lady of Tennessee and founder of You Have the Power; and Rev. Enoch Fuzz, the pastor of Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church who has long advocated for all people.

“Each year on Human Rights Day we look at challenges–those we have overcome and those we face. We hope that a brief look at our victories will give us the hope and strength to reach into the future,” says planning committee chair Rev. Brian Fesler, pastor of the Church of Scientology in Nashville. “The day centers around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and this year we focus on human rights as the foundation for dignity.”

Tennessee United for Human Rights is a chapter of United for Human Rights, an international non-profit organization dedicated to implementing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at local, regional, national and international levels.

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