Living by Mandela's Golden Rules: Free Yourself, Free Others, Learn Every Day

By Mia Arnold

July 18, 2018

“Mandela Day will not be a holiday, but a day devoted to service. It is our hope that people will dedicate their time and effort to improve conditions in their community.”

—Nelson Mandela


2018 brings two anniversaries of transformative human rights milestones: The 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th, and today, Nelson Mandela Day—this year commemorating 100 years since Mandela’s birth.

These anniversaries serve as reminders that we gladly welcome. Though our world is entangled with severe global crises and contaminated with widespread injustices, we are called to honor these anniversaries by way of acknowledging our capabilities and share responsibility to invoke prevailing change.

Mandela’s spirit for social advocacy exemplified the notion that awareness of widespread oppression and poverty is not an invitation for discouragement, but for action. There are strides that can and must be made in our world today to continue to promote justice and seek equality —both globally and locally.

During his dedicated fight for social justice in South Africa, Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, and upon releasement, fought onwards to ultimately ending apartheid in South Africa. He served as the first black president from 1994 to 1999, and earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his historic dedication to equal rights. Mandela frequently voiced the message to “Free yourself, free others and serve every day”. Can you challenge yourself today to envision how these call to actions can be incorporated into your own actions?

1.     Free Yourself
Identify your potential, your strengths and capabilities. Seek opportunities for empowerment, especially through learning. Recognize that you are not insignificant – but rather equipped with unique strengths, perhaps ones that are waiting to be activated and mobilized.

2.     Free Others
Reminding ourselves that even on a local level, we have the power to convert seemingly minor acts into a transformative force for the betterment of our fellow community members.  
3.     Serve Every Day
Change takes time, but individuals dedicated to service are capable of accelerating community empowerment. Continue Mandela’s legacy: kindle freedom and embrace acts of service in any possible instance, in hopes of ultimately fostering equality and combating poverty for all global citizens.

The centennial anniversary is calling upon world citizens to dedicate their day to public service by taking #actionagainstpoverty.

For more information about Nelson Mandela Day, click here.

To learn more about the 70th anniversary about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, please visit our UNA-USA page, here.

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