Waking up each day with the reality being a minority and marginalized is overwhelming. Persons within marginalized groups battle with cases of human rights abuse as their needs are sidelined or receive little support.
The United Nations in its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has an underlying theme which is leaving nobody behind in the processes. With this premise, there is a need for full participation of members regardless of one’s race, religion, nationality, culture, among others.
According to the 2010 population census, persons with disability form 3 per cent of the total population of Ghana.
People who fall within marginalized groups have to battle with a lifetime of self-identity and self-worth. While some are naturally birthed as a minority like persons with albinism and persons with autism, others are not.
For instance, persons with albinism face various forms of verbal, physical abuse, etc due to a genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in their skin, hair or eyes. They are constantly threatened by a demand for their body parts of money rituals, among others. With a high price placed on the limps of persons with albinism, some family members kill or sell them to the ritualists. Other Ghanaian communities label persons with albinism as a bad omen hence are banished or killed.
This raises various cases of human rights violations which means some people are left behind in our quest for equality and equity.
Albinism as a genetic condition cannot be rectified so people live with their condition for a lifetime which means a lifetime of constant combat with abuses.
Advocating for the supply or subsidy of sunscreen lotions and prosecution of people who abuse them is a worthy cause which needs not to be only carried out themselves but also supported by people of the majority group.
Despite underlying socio-cultural factors, individuals must fight against the violation of anyone’s fundamental human rights.
Many a time, persons within the majority group experience a switch to the marginalized group due to either ill health or socio-political factor. This reveals how each person within the majority group is an inch away being within the marginalized or minority group.
To exemplify, health workers do not face various forms of stigmatization due to their profession however, in the wake of COVID-19, they have been a receiving end. This has affected their social relationship with family and friends as they are constantly tagged as a carrier of the virus.
This explains the worth of representing minority groups despite being in the majority group. Advocacy or activism simply means fighting for change and development for people or communities you are connected either directly or indirectly.
Negligence only worsens the situations which trigger a continuous abuse of human rights and suppressing of needs which need to be addressed.
The death of George Floyd has led to a worldwide campaign against racism with a theme, ‘Black Lives Matter’. This is the power in advocacy and fighting against inequality shown at various levels.
There is no need to wait until one becomes a victim before you support a cause or fight against it.
A German Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemöller is quoted to have said the following;
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
The author is a Health Communication Specialist, Francisca Ntow Nsemi.