Embracing New Standards

Turn South works with women and other partners to promote, and achieve, human rights standards as the basis for public policies in the rural southern U.S. – both to empower women and to tackle poverty.

What do human rights standards look like? How would achieving these standards be different from our experiences today? Realizing human rights would ensure that all peoples within the U.S. live with dignity, not just a wealthy and privileged few. It would move us further toward equality, fairness, and opportunity and away from sexism, racism, classism and all forms of discrimination.  The 2016 presidential election demonstrated to us in very stark terms the challenges we face to move us in this direction. It also showed us that it is essential that we try.

Guaranteeing human rights standards would help ensure all people in our communities have: Decent work - Fair wages - Equitable pay - High quality and affordable healthcare – Reproductive health choices - Quality education - Equal treatment before the law – Equal opportunity to vote for elected officials - Healthy and sufficient food – Clean water – Security of person – and other human rights.

Human rights are not new to the U.S. Indeed the U.S. played a key role in developing human rights standards after the Great Depression and World War II. However, many of us in the U.S. are more familiar with civil rights, the legal rights that protect freedom of association and freedom from certain forms of discrimination for example. Civil rights can be taken away by a government hostile to them but human rights are always yours; human rights undergird civil rights. In reality, the U.S. falls short of protecting human rights, including civil rights and in particular the rights that protect women and children, peoples living in poverty, working-class families, and communities of color.

Many in rural areas would benefit significantly and immediately from protection of their human rights. Turn South strives to make these new standards a reality in rural communities across the south.