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Constitution Day Celebration 2023 – A Comparison of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights with U.S. Federal and State Constitutions

Sep 19, 2023 12:15 pm - 1:05 pm

photo of Springfield College Professor of Social Work Joseph Wronka
Presented by Joseph Wronka, PhD
, Springfield College Professor of Social Work

For those unable to attend in person, please join via Zoom.

Joseph Wronka will present a content analysis of articles from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document increasingly referred to as “customary international law,” which all nations must abide, compared to articles of the United States federal and state constitutions. According to him, this comparison between articles is neither total nor precise, but agrees in substance and sense.

In brief, the U.S. federal constitution is almost entirely consistent with the civil and political rights, such as freedoms of speech, peaceful assembly, and religion, of the U.N. Universal Declaration. According to Wronka, there are numerous gaps, however, regarding consistency with the Universal Declaration’s economic, social, cultural, and solidarity rights, such as rights to health c are, shelter, meaningful and gainful employment, rest and leisure, peace, and self-determination. States, which in the words of former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis ought to act as “laboratories of democracy” to extend rights not found in the federal constitution, barely extend these rights apart from the right to education.

Echoing the words of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., respectively, that it is “no longer about civil rights, but human rights” and that “the human rights revolution has begun,” Wronka will base his remarks on his research with implications for social policy and direct non-violent actions to create a human rights culture. He has written about these issues in his latest book, Human Rights and Social Justice: Social Action and Service for the Helping and Health Professions (Cognella, 2023).

Wronka is a longtime faculty member in the School of Social Work and Behavioral Sciences. He is a representative to the United Nations in New York for the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and serves on the Executive Committee of the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Copies of his book will be available for purchase at the event or through his Springfield College profile page.

This event is free and open to the Springfield College community.

Questions? Contact Wendy Franz at wfranz@springfield.edu or (413) 748-3646.

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September 19, 2023
12:15 pm - 1:05 pm
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Harold C. Smith Learning Commons, room 201
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