Stevie Wonder gave a rousing, personal speech about human rights violations at the United Nations on December 3rd, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The musician, who has been blind since birth, was appointed a U.N. Messenger of Peace from the United States in 2009.
“Imagine if others like me were given the opportunity to function at their full potential, how much better our world would be,” Wonder said. The musician acknowledged that while the U.N. has improved the lives of people who are differently abled, many continue to face “horrendous human rights violations.”
Wonder called out political leaders threatening to single out and divide those who are differently abled. Addressing the crowded assembly hall, he warned: “we are once again being handicapped by the negative labels that divide us like – race-baiting – singling out people because of their ethnic or religious origins.” Wonder called on political world leaders and citizens to end “hatred and bigotry of any kind everywhere.”
During the presidential election cycle, Wonder was an outspoken advocate for Hillary Clinton. On the eve of election night, he performed one of his 1973 songs (“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”) on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. During the interview, he said: “I believe in my mother, I believe in this woman, that’s all I can tell you,” adding cheekily, “I voted already – I didn’t drive myself there.”