On Jane Addams Day we invite you to consider how to insert peaceful practices into your life and as a strategy to cultivate justice into your community.
Join us in celebrating Jane Addams Day, established as a commemorative holiday in Illinois in 2006 to remind their citizens of Addams’ lifelong commitment to making the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois – and the entire world – a better place. The decision to celebrate Jane Addams’ life on Dec. 10 marked the first time in Illinois state history that a day was set to commemorate a woman’s accomplishments.
Jane Addams Day is more than an expression of pride in one of Illinois’ most famous citizens. The story of Jane Addams can teach young people that one person really can make a difference. Back in 1860, when Jane Addams was born in Cedarville, well-behaved young women from small towns in northern Illinois didn’t have many opportunities to go to college and pursue professional careers. But Jane Addams had an ambitious dream of changing the world. So she moved to Chicago’s West Side, with the idea of helping the many immigrants who were struggling to make ends meet. Soon Jane Addams’ Hull House was serving thousands of people each week, offering safe, educational daycare for children, English and citizenship classes for adults, and a wide variety of arts and sports programs for all ages.
As the years passed, Jane Addams became a tireless advocate for reform. She worked night and day to make city water cleaner, improve city schools, and clear garbage off city streets. Inspired by her example, civic-minded executives and progressive reformers joined together to assist immigrants, protect children, safeguard workers, and guarantee the civil rights of everyone. Today, more than 70 years after her death, the organizations she helped to found are still fighting for the causes she believed in. Addams offered women the opportunity to become agents for social, political, educational and economic change in their own lives and the lives of others as well.
We hope that people all across the world will be newly inspired by Jane Addams and her life, on Dec. 10 and every day. She proved that when people work together for reform, they can change the world.
Dec. 10 is also “International Human Rights Day.” The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights.