On July 2, 2021, Mansfield Human Rights Commission Chairman Glenn Mitoma was interviewed by Wayne Norman on his WILI morning show.
Hear the interview here: https://www.mixcloud.com/wili1400/7221-mansfield-human-rights-commission-chairman-glenn-mitoma/
Dr. Mitoma offered these thoughts for July 4, Independence Day, in response to Wayne Norman's final question:
With Independence Day coming up, what would you encourage people to think about as our responsibility as Americans with how we think about Human Rights?
"Wayne, this is a great question and I’ve been thinking about it a little bit as we approach this day in a really unprecedented year.
The Declaration (of Independence’s) terms directly refer to human rights:
'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'
These are powerful words. They are revolutionary words, even. But they are also, I think, for many people scary words, because they demand of us an effort to disrupt inequalities and injustices that are built into our habits, our institutions, our cultures, our practices.
I think these words were so scary that even the people who wrote them didn’t actually practice them.
This is part of what we want to highlight with the Juneteenth Independence Day -- that while the ideals of human rights were there, the country was also founded on the practices of a violation of human rights. Chattel slavery, or genocide against native peoples. So this Independence Day, I really think we should be reflecting on how to make our practices align more closely with our ideals, be honest about where we fall short, and work to remember that our Independence is also rooted in our interdependence--that we have to work together to confirm our commitment to these ideals and construct communities that actually practice them."