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MCA’s Virtual Human Rights Panel to Bring Diverse Local Women Together

By on December 7, 2021 0 629 Views

Human Rights Day is on Friday, December 10. The Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo (MCA) will be observing the day by virtually bringing together five local women in a conversation café. The panel featuring Lisa Marie Bourque, Muna Ali, Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) Councillor Funky Banjoko, Verna Murphy, and Purva Sharma (photo in order) will be speaking about Equality: Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Human Rights. The café will be broadcast starting at 10 a.m., on MCA’s YouTube channel, and Facebook page. 

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 giving everyone “inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” The most translated document in the world, it is available in 500 languages, and can be found here. 


Photo courtesy: MCA

The virtual café will be moderated by Lisa Marie Bourque, a Métis Nation of Alberta member, and owner of The Fort McMurray Metis Trading Post, an artisan business.

“It is an honour to be asked to be the moderator of this event. I respect all humans, and believe in quality of life for each and every human being, no matter what path they are on, or choose to live. I look forward to further discussions on human rights,” she said of the event. 

Councillor Banjoko, the first black woman on RMWB Council, notes, “Come and hear my views without mincing words – a different dimension to how we see human rights. It is not left for authorities, institutes or big names, we all have a part to play – you and me. We are all responsible and should hold each other accountable. There is work to do, we were all born free but since the existence of humanity there has been the desire of men to rule others, and have more, (plus so on). Unfortunately the end doesn’t seem to be that close.”

MCA member, and local home-based Indian boutique, Rajasthan Creations owner, Purva Sharma is looking forward to the panel.

“In my opinion it is a valuable freedom to live my life the way I want without encroaching other people’s freedom. Human rights mean having the respect, dignity, as well as equality that we are all entitled as human beings.”

MCA board member, Muna Ali comments, “this year the MCA is collaborating with Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta to educate the youth on all the work that has been done so far to promote and better human rights for all, across the world. The fact that we host such an event gives me hope for the youth and future generations to carry a message of equality and educate the people around them. I believe that the right message can truly bring change to the world, through the education of our current generations and our children.”

“We should expect this event to shed light on current issues as well as also bring new perspectives from all who will present on the topic. This is an opportunity to expand our view and learn more about what human rights for all truly mean.”

Should you need more inspiration, here’s a beautiful and memorable quote from Eleanor Roosevelt – on UNO’s Human Rights Day page:

“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. […] Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

Read it again.

About the author

Freelance Journalist

Kiran is a national award-winning communications specialist, freelance journalist, and social media consultant. She loves telling community stories, and is a strong advocate for inclusion, diversity, women’s rights, and multiculturalism. Got story ideas? Contact her via Twitter: @KiranMK0822.