Updated: May 20, 2020
I have long valued and cherished freedom of religion or belief. This essential human right encapsulates other inalienable rights such as freedom to worship, assemble, speak, write, and teach. It is also critical to note that freedom of religion or belief is completely inclusive of the right to not believe, sometimes termed freedom of conscience. The intersectionality and protection of these rights is the key focus of Bellwether International.
I had no idea that the research I was doing for an international charity in London would prompt the beginning of Bellwether. I met many advocates who were already working to protect freedom of religion or belief and their stories inspired me. I did not exactly how I could make a difference but I was determined to try.
It is impossible to pinpoint the exact beginning of our story. Of course the beginning could include the day we were recognized legally or the day we launched publically, however what Bellwether represents began long before these moments. Our beginning was perhaps the first time I attended church with my family, or shared my beliefs publically with an acquaintance. Every day we enjoy freedom is a day of beginnings.
You don't need an exorbitant amount of money to begin advocating for the freedoms you enjoy. You don't need a doctorate degree or years of experience in corporate law. You need willingness and awareness. You need good information from trustworthy sources and a desire to make change. You need gratitude and appreciation for freedoms that are not always a given. Hillel the Elder famously stated, “If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”