Human Rights and Advocacy

Definition: Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination (United Nations). When we practice advocacy we are actively engaged in the fight for all people to have these human rights and live in an equitable and ethical society.

Why Is This Issue Important?

  • In 2017, the American Community Survey reported that 15% of North Carolina residents had disabilities (
  • In 2016, the employment rate of working-age people (aged 21 to 64) with disabilities in North Carolina was 35% (
  • There are over 1 billion people with disabilities in the world, of whom between 110-190 million experience very significant difficulties (World Report on Disability)
  • North Carolina ranks 11th in the nation for human trafficking cases (NC Department of Administration)
  • 21 million people are victims of forced labor globally (Anti-Slavery)
    In the United States, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner. (NCCADV)

Opportunities for Involvement

Elon Buddies

Form friendships with Alamance Community College students with disabilities.

Special Olympics

Help host the annual Special Olympics of Alamance County event and assist athletes during sporting events.

United Way of Alamance County

Provide support to the local community through food drives, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, and other events and initiatives that support the mission of the United Way.

Sampling Of Elon Courses Related To This Issue

For more information on these courses listed, view the Elon Course Catalog.

  • Anthropology 325: Medical Anthropology
  • Biology 245: Principles of Genetics
  • Core 316: Growing Up – Coordinating Complex Systems
  • Economics 320: Health Economics
  • Education 451: Teaching Diverse Learners
  • Education 455: Early Childhood Exceptionality
  • Human Service Studies 115: American Sign Language and Deaf Culture I
  • Human Service Studies 326: Special Populations in Human Services
  • Public Health Studies 201: Introduction to Public Health

Questions For Reflection

  • How have public perceptions of the term “disability” changed over time?
  • What current systems maintain or diminish problems surrounding disabilities, domestic violence, and human trafficking and how could they be addressed?
  • How are people with visible disabilities treated differently than those with less visible disabilities?
  • How do you think disabilities are related to equity in educational or professional environments?
  • What is the best type of support you can give or the best way you could support your peers with disabilities?
  • Whose voice is missing in the conversation around human rights?
  • How are individuals or groups working to address human rights issues locally, nationally, and globally?
  • How can you use the knowledge and skills you are gaining in college to participate in discussions around human rights and advocacy?