According to the United Nations, “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.”
At the Steps Coalition, Human Rights and Racial Equity are at the core of everything we do (Affordable Housing, Climate Justice, Economic Development, Community Preservation). That being said, we recognize that we cannot address all of the challenges that creating and maintaining an inclusive civil society poses, so we have elected to focus on those areas where we can assist residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to advocate for and protect their Human Rights – community organizing and voter engagement, registration, and participation. And we believe that civic engagement is foundational to tackling problems beyond those that we focus on including, but not limited to, ending police brutality against Black and Brown bodies, making the minimum wage ($7.25/Hour) a living wage ($15.00/Hour), making healthcare affordable for everyone, investing heavily in public k-12 and college education, striving for gender pay equity, forgiving student loan debt, approving automatic voter registration for all citizens 18 years of age or older, passing a national vote by mail policy, making election day a national holiday, reinstating the voting rights act, and investing in a just transition-driven, innovation economy that creates economic opportunity for all while preserving our environment. Add to these the reality of COVID-19 and a polarized and deadlocked political system that is devoid of courageous, ethically centered leadership, the need for every eligible citizen to be civically engaged could not be more urgent.