Four VWC leaders and staff attended the US Human Rights Network’s 2008 National Conference in Chicago this past weekend. They learned from and networked with others around the country who are applying international human rights standards to the domestic context in the US, and will be bringing back that knowledge to help lead upcoming VWC campaigns around Housing is a Human Right, Healthcare is a Human Right, and organizing low-wage workers. Below is an account by one of the delegates:

by Erika Simard, VWC leader

I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to all, to have the opportunity and honor of attending the US Human Rights Conference in Chicago. I wanted to go because Health Care for everyone is a strong passion of mine. I have had my own issues dealing with our current system and I know first hand it doesn’t work well. I don’t feel anyone should have to make decisions about their health based on their ability to pay.

For me the experience was overwhelming. It was wonderful to feel so much love for mankind in a room made up of many different races and cultures. To be able to connect with others that have the same views and goals was very inspirational. The energy that flowed among all the participants was just incredible. To be able to be a part of the activities has given me a renewed sense that change is in our future and I will be part of it.

I really enjoyed the workshops and the Plenaries and just the connecting and meeting of others with the same vision. I found the workshops to be very valuable and they taught me a lot while providing me with the tools I need to help make a difference.

I went to this conference knowing in my heart that Health Care is a human right, but even though I knew it in my heart I had to connect it in my head as to why. I know now after attending the History of Human Rights workshop, why it is a human right.

The VWC does incredible work and I feel that by using the Human Rights framework it will help in any fight because it brings it home that these are international rights everyone should have. For instance, it’s not just a fight for health care because we can’t afford it anymore and the insurance companies are making a fortune off peoples suffering, It’s a fight because it is a human right listed under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

I will be able to explain to others now that it is there. I also attended a workshop that helped to give a direction of our campaign by attaching the human rights framework to values that everyone can identify with. I believe this will help as we move forward in our campaign for health care is a human right.