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10 Cases of Current Human Rights Activism: Worldwide Examples

What does the current human rights activism field look like? It seems like fighting for change by taking action outside of your comfort zone. Activism is a word that has been around for decades, but it’s likely to be buzzed about more than ever in the 21st century.

Human rights activism is alive and well. It’s just not what you think it is. If you’re picturing people shouting in the streets, holding protest signs, or yelling at members of Congress on T.V., then I’m sorry to burst your bubble. That’s not what modern activism looks like anymore.

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring how digital technology has changed the way we can make change happen and how there are so many ways for us to contribute digitally every day – from signing a petition to donating money or volunteering time with an organization near you – all without ever leaving home!

Current human rights activism

Current Human Rights Activism Examples

Black Lives Matter is a movement that started after Trayvon Martin was shot and killed on his way back home from buying Skittles in 2012.

  • In 2017, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem before NFL games as a way of protesting against police brutality against people of color.
  • The hashtag #MeToo became popular when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted about the scandal-ridden Harvey Weinstein.

The women’s March in Washington D.C., which took place on January 21s tot, 2017; the #NeverAgain movement to end gun violence in schools; and the #metoo movement; are all examples of campaigns that started as a social media phenomenon.

The most common characteristic among these movements is civic engagement and links between activism and education.


The #metoo movement, for example, was started by Tarana Burke in 2006 to support survivors of sexual assault and harassment.

Although the hashtag didn’t start trending until 2017, it eventually became adopted by actors like Alyssa Milano who were taking part in the #timesup campaign against sexual misconduct from famous personalities such as Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby.

Milano’s tweet has been retweeted over 500 thousand times since posted two weeks ago. Many want people worldwide daring to share their own stories via Twitter using #metoo in solidarity. Other celebrities used Instagram and Facebook to share the campaign.


Started by writer Emily Lindin after the rape allegations against Harvey Weinstein came to light.


We won’t be erased started among many other groups speaking up for gay rights while politicians debated whether or not “transgenderism” is a medical condition in California.

Social Media and Human Rights Activism

Many large-scale social movements such as those mentioned above started more or less online and then became offline events taking place in the streets. The main difference between these campaigns and others before them is that they were organized mainly on Twitter/Facebook rather than through face-to-face conversations, rallies, marches, etc. As Kivi Rogers puts it:

Using digital tools to organize this march was a first for our city’s women and one of many firsts for women around the country.

While there are many issues, including access to healthcare, racial equality, wage inequality, and reproductive rights, at stake seeing with this administration, many critical people of President Trump’s policies see women’s rights as the most vital issue.

We had seen this playout for the last two years since the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017.

Comparing new and old human rights activism

The world has changed drastically since the days of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi’s passive protests when it comes to civil rights. How do we know which type of protest is more effective in this era of social media, hashtags, and other forms of modern-day activism?

In some cases, nonviolent direct action has been proven to be a much more successful form of protest than violence in getting the point across.

With these new movements for change happening around the world – Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street – we must be educated on what they are about and why they happen so that we can support them or show opposition as needed.

What was once a political protest is now an everyday occurrence. From taking to the streets in Standing Rock, North Dakota, to marching for women’s rights, activism has become more than just a trend.

human rights

Notable Examples of Human Rights Activists

Some people are not famous, but they still help people like John Lewis, who was beaten by the police during the civil rights movement. And we have someone in our own country right now named Colin Kaepernick, famous for his protests about police brutality against Black Americans.

Ava DuVernay

A film director, producer, and screenwriter has created films that explore race, gender, and identity from America’s past and present.

She has directed several cinematic adaptations of books, including The New Jim Crow (a book about the mass incarceration of African Americans after the civil rights movement), which she adapted into a documentary for Netflix; Selma (based on the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery), 13th (about slavery, segregation, and mass incarceration); and A Wrinkle in Time (about a 13-year-old girl who travels through time to save her father).

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is an English primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and U.N. Messenger of Peace. While studying chimpanzees in the wild in Tanzania, she rose to fame but later became known for her conservation and animal welfare work. Her book “Seeds of Hope” details how she learned that all humans are connected and other living things.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. She was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan but grew up mainly in England, where she began writing about life in Pakistan and her campaign for the right of every child to have access to education.

In October 2012, when she was just 15 years old, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while riding the bus home from school with her friends and classmates. She survived and became an activist for girls’ rights to education all over the world.

As of 2016, she is ranked number one on The Guardian’s “Young Feminists List” and Forbes Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women” list.

With her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, she co-authored a book entitled I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban, which has been translated into 40 languages and sold millions of copies worldwide.

Penny Mordaunt

The U.K.’s Minister of State for International Development was appointed on June 14, 2017, following Gavin Williamson’s promotion to Defence Secretary.

She has since been promoted to Secretary of State for International Development in Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle following Theresa May’s resignation as Prime Minister.

Penny Mordaunt attended Portsmouth University, where she received a degree in Politics, Philosophy & Economics (PPE).

In 2013 she became the first female Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall and, in 2015, became the first woman to serve as both an MP and Lord Lieutenant simultaneously.

As Secretary of State for International Development, Penny works with U.K. Aid Directly which aims to deliver aid directly to people affected by conflict or natural disaster while cutting out intermediaries.

Angelina Jolie

Jolie is an American actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian. She has received three Screen Actors Guild Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and was made a member of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations in 2013.

In 2012 Angelina became Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees at the request of former U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon to help with refugees across the globe and serve as their ambassador from 2014 until 2016.

Her work as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador focuses on raising awareness about violence against women and girls worldwide. This includes her film “First They Killed My Father,” which she directed based on Loung Ung’s memoirs about surviving the Cambodian genocide.

Millie Bobby Brown

An English actress, model, and singer rose to fame in 2016 after being Eleven in Netflix’s hit science fiction drama series Stranger Things.

She was the first person ever to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at age 13 for her performance in season 1 of the T.V. series.

The Guinness Book of World Records has also recognized her as the “youngest female self-made billionaire,” with earnings amounting to $1 million per year since she became famous through social media at age 12.

On June 29, 2018, Millie was cast as one of the leads in Quentin Tarantino’s next film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, released in 2019.

Emma González

A Cuban-American activist and gun control advocate became widely recognized after giving a speech in response to the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Valentine’s Day 2018 in Parkland, Florida.

At the March for Our Lives rally held in Washington DC, González gave an impassioned speech criticizing politicians for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association and called out Donald Trump by name.

She gained worldwide acclaim for her bravery and has since continued working with groups like Moms Demand Action and other student activists to continue fighting against school shootings across America.

Nancy Grace

Nancy Grace is an American journalist who works as a legal analyst on C.B.S. News’ “. She is best known as the host of Court T.V.’s former reality-documentary series, “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation” and its spin-off show, “which have been the two highest-rated shows in their time slots for the past seven years across all cable networks since 2005.

Grace also writes a syndicated column for newspapers based on her crime coverage and has published five books concerning legal issues.

After receiving national attention for covering the high profile trials of Casey Anthony (2011), Elizabeth Smart kidnapper Wanda Barzee (2014), and wrongfully convicted Steven Avery along with his nephew Brendan Dassey (2017), she was chosen to replace retiring CNN anchor Nancy Pimental in July 2011 as co-anchor of “Nancy Grace” with controversial legal analyst Sunny Hostin.

In 2014 it was announced that CNN had canceled the show after eight years on the air. Despite this, Nancy has continued to cover many high-profile cases, including the Bill Cosby sexual assault case in 2017, and now works for C.B.S. News as a legal reporter.


From the youngest self-made billionaire to an Emmy award-winning actress, here are a few current human rights activists we’ve highlighted that you should know. If you’re looking for more information about any of these people or other advocates like them, feel free to reach out and contact us!

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