East Texans advocate human rights every day

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Carlos Alegria informs his high school class it's Human Rights Day.

"Every human has rights, everyone," Alegria said. "Human rights, yes."

United Nations established Human Rights Day to educate people, especially youth, on the importance of upholding their human rights.

"They just make fun of them if they're not the way they think they're supposed to be," one student said.

This year, Alegria takes his human rights advocacy outside the classroom.

The teacher and pastor estimates he's spent thousands of hours assisting young people in the completion of work visa applications.

"They have the right to exist," he said. "They have the right to work. They have he right to be seen as humans, not just a number."

Some use the documentation to attend local universities. This week, students study for difficult finals in hopes the hard work will pay off with a degree.

Professor Julie Harrelson-Stephens wants none of her students to take the right of an education for granted.

"Human Rights Day is a moment to focus on that we don't have it that bad and that should allow us to show grace to other human beings," Harrelson-Stephens said.

The guidance has created awareness for Guantanomo prisoners, human trafficking and, for Kristen Cade, immigration issues.

"The fact that I stress about finals, that I complain about them, I still sit, in the back of my mind, I know that I should be grateful that I have this opportunity," Cade said.

So while Human Rights Day is observed annually on Dec. 10, it's every day these students advocate for human rights every day, everywhere.

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