To mark Human Rights Day 2020, Ideas Test has teamed up with Fly The Flag, alongside other organisations throughout the UK, to commission a poem inspired by the themes of Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 25 states the basic rights we all have to food, shelter, healthcare, social services and security.
Ideas Test’s Commission
We commissioned local poet and performer Neelam Saredia-Brayley to write a poem.
The result is We Are Masterpieces.
The poem looks back on 2020, a year none of us expected. It describes the sadness and the challenges we all faced and offers hope to all of us in Medway, Swale and the world beyond for the year ahead. We hope you enjoy and find some comfort in it.
We Are Masterpieces
Some believe we have gone through our hardest year so far.
We’ve lost people, mobility, work
and our worries orbit around us whenever we step outside
we are afraid of losing the gift of breathing.
But we’ve also seen great hope
people helping from a distance
keeping each other company over the phone
we have seen so much love
endless rainbows across Swale and Medway
we make things with our happy birthday-washed hands.
These resilient towns
despite hard times
still carry sunshine in their generosity, their creativity.
And it’s okay
it’s okay to feel drawn to sadness sometimes
we’ve missed birthdays and weddings
and some of us have been to more funerals
and hospitals than we’ve ever wanted to
but we are coming back.
In times of crisis, hope becomes part of our DNA
it ribbons through our bodies
embroiders our fears
so that inside we are masterpieces.
This year has been a relay race
and we are all Olympians of the living room
athletes of staying indoors
and we are running, skipping, marching, slow-dancing to that finish-line.
And the whole time, we are blessed
protected by invisible universal human rights
we have had 72 years of them
let us keep passing them on
let us Fly the Flag.
This year, we think about Article 25
how we all have the right to food, clothes, housing and healthcare.
To get support when we need it.
These rights are unchanging and real
these rights are ours from birth to beyond.
But there is still a way to go
we see injustice broadcast on our newsfeeds daily
some quieter than others
but all are important
even in a pandemic we must keep fighting.
We have jigsawed our way across the year
pieces of us connecting
finally seeing the bigger picture
we have defended each other and marched
for Black Lives Matter, for our planet, for protection
and fought against homelessness and poverty
in sickness and in health.
Our bodies are festivals of light
and we must keep this hope for change in our chests
in our hopeful bones
and our beautiful dancing hearts
hope hidden at the backs of our knees
and hope in our clenched fists
giving us a reason to hold on.
These rights are ours
so let’s illuminate
let’s keep lending our shoulders, voices and our working hands
and let us always
always have hope.
About Article 25
Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states;
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”
Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day 2020 marks the 72nd Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10th December and its creation to protect everyone.
The Human Rights Day logo, which you can see in the animation above (a footprint made of white dots on a blue background), was designed by artist and activist Ai Weiwei.
Weiwei had been arrested and detained without charge by Chinese authorities because he criticised the Chinese Government’s stand on democracy and human rights, and now lives in exile.
Creative Resources For Schools from Fly The Flag
Fly The Flag has a Creative Resources pack that can be used in classrooms and assemblies to talk about Human Rights and Article 25.
The pack is suitable for ages 5 to 18 (Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 5).
You can download the packs from https://flytheflag.org.uk/schools/
To learn more about Fly The Flag, and to read the other poems and spoken word pieces visit their website: https://flytheflag.org.uk/
Neelam would like to thank Apples And Snakes for supporting her poetry.
Ideas Test would like to thank Fly The Flag and all the organisations and poets involved in Human Rights Day 2020.
We’d also like to thank;
- Arts Council England (South East)
- Kent County Council
- Medway Council
- Swale Borough Council
- Medway 2025 – City of Culture
- Colyer Fergusson Trust
- Kent Community Foundation