The Duke Human Rights Center @ the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University stands in solidarity with members of our Black Community. We mourn the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. These human beings died at the hands of government officials, part of a powerful system of racial injustice that remains at work in the United States and in institutions of higher education, including Duke University.

Police violence in particular is a blight we must help expose and end.

Our work is to educate about and practice human rights. There’s no more fundamental right than Article Three of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the right to life. Our solidarity is with communities suffering across the nation as well as with our students, staff, faculty, neighbors, and families. 

We see and listen to you.
We believe you.
We stand and walk with you.
We grieve with you.
We are angry and frustrated.

We pledge to continue to educate and practice human rights. We pledge to work for justice with you. We pledge to continue to empower Black, brown, and other communities of color. We pledge to continue to educate ourselves, white colleagues, and students about systemic racism and how we can dismantle it. We pledge to work for the rights of the poor and the marginalized, including our immigrant, Muslim, and Jewish brethren. We pledge to lift up, amplify, and echo demands for justice and accountability. We plan to continue to hold our own university to account as part of our shared educational mission.

Our commitment is rooted deeply in human rights history. On the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the chair of the drafting commission, Eleanor Roosevelt, said this: “Where, after all, do universal 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, 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 larger world.”




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