High Road for Human Rights

Dear High Road Traveler-

I write the following with a mixture of sadness because of the need to wind down the operations of High Road for Human Rights and tremendous gratitude for the demonstration of your commitment to the protection of human rights through your support of High Road.

When I announced in 2006 that I would not run for re-election as Mayor of Salt Lake City, I discussed what I intended to do in the future:

I have made this decision because I want to spend my remaining days working on grass-roots advocacy and organizing in the areas of human rights and global warming. As our nation – and indeed our world – have proclaimed “Never Again” ever since the Holocaust, we have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear, again and again, toward many millions of people – many millions of our brothers and sisters around the world – as they have been murdered, raped, tortured, and run off from their homes. We have witnessed much of the same with respect to the most urgent problem facing our world – global warming – with elected officials dithering while they rely on fiction rather than science to justify their unconscionable inaction.

So, I plan to “make more noise” – and hope to help others give vent to their humanity and their outrage by “making more noise.” Through grass roots advocacy and organizing, I believe and hope we can make this a better, safer, healthier, more sustainable, and far kinder world.With the inspiring help of many – including generous founders, those who have provided us with free office space (David Ibarra, Henry Brito, and Jonathan Ruga), fantastic staff members, the Advisory Committee, our intrepid Board members, and hundreds of volunteers – we built High Road for Human Rights, an organization with a well-deserved reputation for effectively raising awareness and motivating people to take actions leading to a more compassionate world.

We reached people throughout the country and beyond with our message; garnered the support of several thousands of people for our major climate protection, anti-death penalty, and ban-on-torture campaigns; and empowered several hundred young people to take grassroots actions to protect human rights.

It has been an amazing ride on the High Road. For a tour of much that High Road has done over the years – including my testimony at an unprecedented U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearing on abuses of Executive Branch power; numerous presentations about the power of grassroots organizing to stop genocides and slavery; rallies to push for accountability for torture; presentations throughout the nation about the solutions to climate change; and educating thousands of people about the threats to our republic from the two-tiered system of justice now prevailing – please visit our website to see High Roads Traveled and view the informative videos.

So why wind down High Road now? One major reason: A lack of adequate funding. Although generous funders (Norm and Barbara Tanner and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund) helped get us off the ground initially with seed funding, and although others have stepped up with funding to keep us operating, it simply hasn’t been enough. Far too often during the past three years, we didn’t know if we would make it through to the next month – even when I was uncompensated much of the time.

I will work to start a major new national political party, which will advocate for, among other things, the fulfillment of High Road’s mission. Beyond that, I’m not sure what the future holds for me. But whatever I end up doing, I hope to continue the quest in some way – and hope that we will all stay in touch and that each of us will work in our own ways to bring greater peace and compassion to our world.

I’m extremely grateful for the hard work of past and current High Road staff members, the commitment of our Board members, and the enthusiasm and dedicated efforts of our interns and other volunteers. I have been inspired every day by the terrific work done by so many people, driven by a common goal of ending preventable suffering from human rights abuses sustained by our brothers and sisters around the world.

Thank you for all you’ve done – and please stay in touch.

With gratitude,

Ross C. Anderson