Fly The Flag 2020: We Are Masterpieces by Neelam Saredia-Brayley

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

Neelam Saredia-Brayley

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.

https://applesandsnakes.org/

 

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

 

Click on the buttons below to share We Are Masterpieces with your friends and family via your favourite apps.