Center can help create better citizens, world

The Center for Civil and Human Rights is not only one of the most beautiful landmarks in the city of Atlanta, it is the house of courage. The Center articulates two important juxtaposing narratives based on offenders and defenders of civil and human rights. You see the faces of offenders like Hitler, Idi Amin and Pinochet across from the elevated visages of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, and Mandela. It is a true representation of good versus evil and is eloquently told among the walls of the Center.

Where does the struggle begin, and to what end? I think of it as what the alphabet is to language, what multiplication tables are to math, and the periodic table to chemistry. It is what RIGHTS are to human development and success. If you deny human beings the right to self-actualization, you shrink the marketplace. For example, if you disenfranchise women and disallow them to drive cars as is the case in some countries, what you have done is shrink the car industry’s market by half. Freedom is a key ingredient to economic success and. similarly, economic success is key to fending off poverty, which is one of the reasons people get oppressed and denied their rights.

The role of the Center for Civil and Human Rights is to teach this simple but important lesson to our children. By doing this, we can create a milieu of inclusion and a moral aptitude that, going forward, each child should possess just like any other skillset. Imagine a world where this is the basis for every child’s education. That rights are fundamental and the marketplace is endless.

The Power to Inspire is the Center for Civil and Human Rights’ annual fundraiser. It helps us to imagine a world of equals and honors leaders who imagined a more just and equitable world. So my call to action is for each business and individual in the state of Georgia to help us make this world of inclusion a reality. Donations to the Center will allow schools in Georgia to bring children through our doors every year. This will guarantee a sophisticated citizenry coming out of our educational system with a clear understanding of both the moral aptitude of inclusion and a sobering comprehension of the cost of discrimination. We ask that each of you take this charge as we all seek to cultivate a city and state of inclusion.

To make donations, please visit or call 404-991-6986.

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Derreck Kayongo is CEO of Atlanta’s The National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Kayongo is a former refugee, human rights activist, and CNN Global Hero.