Human Rights Film Festivals Can Make You More Aware of Social Responsibility

Human Rights. Social Responsibility. Are they the same? Social Responsibility is a phrase we use on this website, in our social media posts, and in the Whole Champion books and workbooks. But what exactly is social responsibility? We define it as “caring for oneself and others; taking action to benefit other people.” Social responsibility incorporates three things: awareness, compassion, and action.

And as Barbara Edelston Peterson writes in A Whole Person Makes the Whole World Better, being socially responsible could be “as simple as offering to carry someone’s groceries, or as involved as participating in a food drop to a village stricken by natural disaster or war. It can manifest as organizing a peaceful march to benefit a worthy cause.”

human rights gay pride parade
Source: Pixabay

This blog and the Whole Champion Foundation aims to make people aware of issues and to provide suggestions of actions we can all take to do our parts to make the world a better place. This week, what is on my mind is human rights and societal issues: poverty, access, health care, food scarcity, war, to name just a few.

This is a holiday week and many of us are celebrating with family and/or friends, and we may not think about those who cannot move about so freely due poor health, to imprisonment, or to problems with police. For example, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to two years in prison for violating “Myanmar’s Covid-19 pandemic restrictions during the 2020 election campaign, incitement, illegally importing and possessing walkie talkies, and breaking the colonial-era Official Secrets Act,” according to CNN. And Anna Har, the director of FreedomFilmFest, Malaysia, Amin Landak, a cartoonist, and all individuals related to the production and screening of a short animated film on police torture entitled Chili Powder and Thinner are being investigated and harassed and intimidated by police who have raided their offices and homes.

Participating in Human Rights Film Festivals are one way to you can better understand social responsibility issues and find causes that are near and dear to your heart in 2022. There are many festivals around the world and they have in-person or streaming options. For example, from Wednesday, February 2 until Tuesday, February 8, Human Rights Watch Film Festival is taking place in San Diego, California. A festival pass for all of the movies is $35.

Current topics covered at the 2022 festival include: Indigenous Peoples’ Rights, Human Rights in the U.S.; Reproductive Justice; Children’s Rights; Women’s Rights (in Pakistan).

Similar festivals by Human Rights Watch will be held in London during the third week of March (and streamed to anywhere in the UK and Ireland). And Human Rights Watch has partnered with University of California, Davis, to sponsor festivals every year since 2017. The UCD festival was this past November and featured the films Unapologetic (about two Black abolitionist leaders that challenge the Chicago police administration in being complicit in state violence against Black residents), 200 Meters (about a Palestinian father who is trapped on the other side of a separation wall and is trying to reach the hospital for his son), Us Kids (which follows the founders of March for a Lives as they organize the biggest youth protect in America and build an inclusive movement that addresses racial injustice, a public health crisis, and a shocking political system) , A Once and Future Peace (which looks at communities in Seattle who are breaking the cycle of incarceration through Indigenous peace-making circles), and Missing in Brooks County (which looks at the many migrants who going missing in rural Texas). Or, if you prefer to keep up on human rights news on a daily basis, Human Rights Watch website can provide a timely stream of information from around the world in a variety of languages.

human rights
Source: Pixabay

Another choice for film festival information is the Human Rights Film Network, which has 44 member organizations-festivals in 39 countries. Their focus is on creating awareness on social issues and telling stories “that are unseen, unheard, and untold”. The largest of the festivals is the One World—International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival that runs from March 21 until April 3, 2022 in the Czech Republic; it features more than 110 documentary films from around the globe. In addition to focusing on social and human rights issues, this festival also highlights political, environmental, and media topics.

While these suggestions are not exhausted, they are a starting point to embracing social responsibility, paying attention to human rights issues, and investigating ways we can help. This holiday season, while we celebrate with family and friends, say a pray for others who aren’t so fortunate and promise yourself to better educate yourself and to do something in the coming year.



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