Support HRE for Human Rights Day

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY was yesterday, December 10, the anniversary of the date when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

Human rights education is as important today as it has ever been in promoting peace, dignity, freedom, equality and respect for all peoples here at home and around the world. This year, in celebration of human rights day, please consider investing in HRE by donating to HRE USA’s newly established Flowers Fund.

flowers fund with taglineThe Flowers Fund supports innovation and mentorship in human rights education in the United States. Your tax-exempt donation will enable HRE USA to cultivate the next generation of human rights educators by underwriting a variety of creative activities such as internships with member organizations, research, artistic expressions, and collaborative projects among students, teachers, and activists.

The Flowers Fund was created in honor of human rights educator, Nancy Flowers to continue her legacy of innovation and mentorship in human rights education.

>> Donate here

 

Immigrant Activist Profile – DULCE

As part of HRE-USA’s commitment to defending DACA and advocating for a Clean Dream Act, we will be interviewing a series of Immigrant Rights activists and sharing ways that educators can support the #HeretoStay movement.

“There is Power in Numbers” – An Immigrant Rights Activist’s Journey

img_20161101_152414.jpgDulce (above center) an immigrant rights activist and college student currently based out of Washington, D.C., remotely working with an organization called Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER) and also United We Dream. While her dedication to the #HeretoStay movement is clear-cut and straightforward, her personal journey has taken her across thousands of miles, across the border of two countries and through three different U.S. states.

Dulce was born in the Mexican state of Guerrero, in the southern region of Mexico. Given that her family found it poverty-ridden and infested with crime at the time, her parents decided to leave her community in search of better opportunities in the United States. She crossed the border exactly on her ninth birthday, which she considers her “birthday gift.”

The arduous journey with her grandmother, aunt, mother, and other family members spanned across three days and three nights. Dulce shares that during that journey into the United States, her mother unfortunately was caught by U.S. border agents, forcing her mother to attempt the journey four other times, one of which where she was kidnapped.

Dulce herself ended up living in South Carolina and started third grade there where she learned English and eventually successfully completed middle and high school. As her high school graduation date loomed ahead, she realized that she wanted to go to college. However, this proved difficult, given that South Carolina did not pride itself in welcoming immigrant communities and was known for its anti-immigration legislation, essentially banning immigrant students from attending college.

When DACA came out, Dulce was still in high school and had applied and been accepted into three different universities. Despite this being an incredible accomplishment, for Dulce it was a huge let down, as all of these schools did not offer financial aid / in-state tuition for individuals with her immigration status. Eventually, Dulce was forced to give up on her dream of going to college for a whole year.

During that year, Dulce found a job, attempting to save as much money as possible in order to achieve her dream of eventually going to college. She attempted everything to achieve her goal of getting her higher education paid for, including going to a military recruitment office. At the time, she found it to be her only solution, yet she found that nothing came out of it, and given her immigration status, she wasn’t able to join the military either. While Dulce struggled to make something out of her life, she found that all of the doors of opportunity were closed to her.

Moving forward, through internet research, Dulce eventually found a scholarship over Facebook for DACA recipients through TheDream.US Even though it was a week before the deadline, she applied and by December, she learned she received the educational scholarship. Ever persistent, learning that only students who were eligible for in-state tuition could receive the scholarship, Dulce moved to Florida not knowing anyone, with her dreams in her suitcase, to attempt to receive an out-of-state tuition waiver.

Having moved to Florida, Dulce soon learned that she was ineligible for in-state tuition waiver, having needed to spend three years of high school in the state, but stayed there for two years. She cobbled together her savings from the year and a half that she had worked, got a job on campus, but the scholarship she received only covered one-third of her tuition. Given that she had to still pay for her housing, it got to a point where she couldn’t afford college.

Despite all of the setbacks, Dulce refused to give up and eventually moved once again to Washington, D.C., where she currently attends Trinity Washington University, where with the support of TheDream.US, she is able to complete her education and she finds a community that is welcoming of immigrants and DACA recipients.

In Washington, D.C., she continues her activism, as she understands how important it is to speak out and fight not only for yourself, but for other people as well. Before she became involved in activism, she herself didn’t know the origins of DACA and realized it was a program made possible by activists that came before her, who paved the path for people like herself. In turn, Dulce hopes to pave the path for others who will come after her.

linda sarsour-SWER and UWDFor this reason, alongside SWER, she also works with the immigrant rights organization, United We Dream and connected with them immediately when she arrived to D.C. to be as much help as possible. As of November 2017, she has been helping to organize the walk-out at Trinity Washington University, in support of the passing of Clean Dream Act.

For Dulce this work is important because she feels her community, and other communities (for instance the Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Haitian communities in the Temporary Protection Status program) are under attack under the current administration. Furthermore, future immigrant communities will be affected, as the administration seeks to terminate programs that will directly impact immigrants. For this reason, Dulce lobbies and calls her senators and representatives, and aggressively advocates for them to pass the Clean Dream Act, legislation that she will provide protection for herself, her community, and also her mother, whom she considers the original DREAMer.

Through her multiple journeys and dream to pursue a college education, Dulce remains hopeful and feels that she receives a lot of support from allies and strangers who support this cause. Recently, students at Trinity Washington University organized information sessions, where many non-DACA recipients came out to show their support of immigrant communities and to learn more about how how the DACA and TPS repeals were negatively affecting the immigrant community.

Alongside her activism, she continues to study at Trinity Washington University, as she is double-majoring in Communications and International Relations. While her future career is still uncertain, she has a desire to possibly involve herself with immigration law, work for a non-profit, or get into politics. She has a deep desire to make a positive change in her community. Even on her free time, she is very active on social media, following and arguing with politicians, and reading through Facebook posts of individuals with different ideological points of view, including those that might be hateful. In spite of much of the ignorant rhetoric online, she believes that while some people may never change their mind, she believes that you can at least change their attitudes. Even on her downtime, Dulce can be found online, explaining the basics of U.S. immigration and debunking the misinformation around immigrants and crime to strangers.

walkout-nov-9th-e1512084357836.jpgDulce continues to fight and reminds others to only for the current DACA recipients, but also for every generation, including her mother. She believes that the original DREAMers are not herself and her fellow DACA recipients, but rather the parents of current DACA recipients, those that left everything behind so that their children could have a better life.

Action Steps: Click here to take a look at some resources educators and their communities can do to support the Clean Dream Act. Also check out this toolkit created by United We Dream to use in the classroom.

 

 

 

 

Support Innovation in HRE

HRE USA  is excited to announce the creation of the  Flowers Fund.  Established in honor of Nancy Flowers, the fund will be used continue her legacy of innovation and mentorship in human rights education.  Please consider contributing today to help us advocate for and further develop programming that supports human rights education and our ultimate goal of making human rights a reality in each community.

>> Donate Now

Nancy Flowers given HRE USA Lifetime Achievement Award

November 16, 2017

On Thursday November 16th, at the HRE USA’s annual reception and awards ceremony, Human Rights Educators USA (HRE USA) presented Nancy Flowers with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her decades of dedication, innovation, and mentorship in advancing human rights education in the United States and around the world.

Nancy was surrounded by family, friends and colleagues many of whom shared their own personal stories and thank you messages attesting to the impact Nancy has made on their lives through her human rights work.

Furthermore, in honor of Nancy Flowers, HRE USA established the Flowers Fund. Under her guidance, the fund will be used continue Nancy’s legacy of innovation and mentorship in human rights education.

Please consider contributing today to help us advocate for and further develop programming that supports human rights education and our ultimate goal of making human rights a reality in each community.

>> Donate Now

ABOUT NANCY FLOWERS

Nancy Flowers is a writer and consultant for human rights education. She has worked to develop Amnesty International’s education program and is a founding member of Human Rights Educators USA, a national human rights education network. As a consultant to governments, nongovernmental organizations, and UN agencies, she has helped establish national and international networks of educators, develop materials, and train activists and professionals in many countries. She is the author and editor of articles and books on human rights education, most recently Towards a Just Society: The Personal Journeys of Human Rights Educators (Minnesota, 2016); Human Rights. YES! Action and Advocacy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2nd Edition, Minnesota, 2013), Acting for Indigenous Rights: Theatre to Change the World (Minnesota, 2013); and Local Action/ Global Change: A Handbook on Women’s Human Rights (2nd edition, Paradigm Press, 2008). She lives in Palo Alto, California.

New Human Rights Here & Now Bulletin

How do teachers bring human rights into an increasingly restricted curriculum? HRE USA’s latest Human Rights Here and Now Bulletin will help you answer this question. The publication features guest editors Jessica Mintz and John Terry, who were part of a special team of New Jersey educators that developed a collection of adaptable and accessible model lessons that support the integration of HRE into their state’s curriculum.

>> Download Bulletin

ARTE Social Justice Workshops

Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE) is offering innovative, educational social justice workshops for both youth and adults. ARTE focuses on the intersection of human rights with art, design, and technology. Workshops themes include:

  • Art as a tool for social justice
  • Human rights education for youth
  • Using the arts to realize your social justice passion
  • Making human rights change through art and design

ARTE will work with you to explore how to best serve your community’s needs and customize a workshop that will best support your own grassroots organizing. ARTE seeks to build critical partnerships that will allow them to collaboratively make meaningful and sustainable human rights change.

Workshops range from 60 minutes to full day-long workshops. Please contact Marissa Gutierrez for more information. You may also fill out our workshop request form. While based in New York City, ARTE can also visit cities outside of their home base.

>> Learn more
>> Workshop Request Form

National Council for Social Studies Conference

EVENT DETAILS:

When: November 17-19
Where: San Francisco, CA

San Francisco’s rich history and vibrant neighborhoods come alive at the 97th NCSS Annual Conference, November 17-19, 2017 (pre-conference meetings November 15-16). Join NCSS in its first return to the Bay Area in more than 30 years for the world’s largest and most comprehensive social studies professional development conference.

Join more than 3,000 of your social studies colleagues to share the most current knowledge, ideas, research and expertise in social studies education, and to experience the history, culture, and color that are uniquely San Francisco.

HRE USA and the NCSS HRE Community will be hosting a series of events at the NCSS conference. Further details will be provided in the October newsletter and on our website.

We hope to see you there!

>> Learn more and register

Teaching About the Human Impact of Natural Disasters

In response to the terrible impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has made 3 chapters of their 2010 bulletin, The Human Impact of Natural Disasters:  Issues for the Inquiry-Based Classroom publicly available at the request of the editors.  The book contains essays by scholars and practitioners about a range of topics concerning natural disasters and their consequences, and how social studies educators can address them in their daily practice. The bulletin has a prominent emphasis on human rights issues, and includes lesson suggestions as well as a comprehensive bibliography.

>> Access the free chapters 
>> Full text for NCSS members

John Brown Day Celebration and Anti-Racism Symposium

EVENT DETAILS:
When: Saturday October 14, 2017
Where: Woodstock Union High School  Woodstock, Vermont
Cost: $10-20 sliding-scale registration fee includes breakfast

On 5 May of this year, the Vermont legislature adopted a concurrent resolution “designating October 16, 2017 as John Brown Day in Vermont.” To commemorate the day, the Woodstock Social Justice Initiative is hosting a Brown celebration and anti-racism event in Woodstock, Vermont on the October 14th aimed at empowering community members with the understanding and tools needed to take action against racism. Several renowned experts on Brown, abolitionism and anti-abolitionism in Vermont and New Hampshire will be presenting, as will local educators who will demonstrate how they teach about Brown and other controversial figures.

Continuing education credits will be available.

>> Learn more
>> Register for event

CHILDREN CAN BE HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS, TOO!

By Ellen V. Moore

In 1987, while I was co-director of Amnesty International USA’s Urgent Action Program, I began the monthly AIKids’ Urgent Action Program for youngsters ages 9-14 years old. For decades, our UA Office in Nederland, Colorado sent out casesheets to teachers, parents, scout troops, Sunday Schools, individual young people often about youngsters facing human rights abuses in Africa, South and Central America, in Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

Sometimes a casesheet would lay out details of the arrest of a union activist and his children who were with him at a rally.  Sometimes Amnesty was asking for letters to a government official who, with the stroke of a pen, could ensure the release of a medical rights pediatrician in Pakistan who was being threatened along with her family members, for speaking out at demonstrations about the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights article defining basic medical care as a basic human right.

I shared the AIKids’ Urgent Action with my UA colleagues in London and AI United Kingdom almost immediately began its own effort at youth letter-writing, The Junior Urgent Action.  Shortly, AICanada’s Urgent Action Program Director Marilyn McKim began the LifeSaver geared for students from 4th to ninth grades.  Every year, another AI Section either began using the AIKids’ UAs or the youth casesheets from Canada or the United Kingdom, and throughout Central and Latin America AI Sections began using the Spanish language casesheets produced by a Spanish language teacher in Colorado, Maya Meis.

There has always been debate, in education in general and among Amnesty International human rights educators about when and if to introduce students to human rights issues and especially to human rights abuses worldwide.  As I reviewed copies of children’s letter sent to me over many decades from teachers, parents, scout leaders, and young students themselves, I became convinced that in many, even most, instances young letter writers were profoundly empowered by advocacy letter-writing because “doing something” about human rights appears to have empowered the young writers to “Speak truth to power.”

Hundreds of letters written by children using the AIKids’ Urgent Action casesheets are now part of the AIUSA Archives at Columbia University’s Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research which preserves the papers of a dozen human rights organizations and many dozen individual human rights activists worldwide but especially from the United States.

Though AIUSA no longer produces the monthly AIKids’ Urgent Actions, it is of huge comfort to me that both AI Canada and AI United Kingdom continue their monthly letter-writing programs for students with all this implies about students learning that they need not passively learn of human rights abuses daily on the web and on television or in film but they too can take action to speak out to persons in authority urging a halt to unacceptable government collusion in internationally-condemned behaviors against minorities, women, the elderly, children, ethnic groups and refugees.

As part of the international AI Write for Rights December Celebration of the UDHR, there will be and has always been, a case specially written for young letter-writers.  This casesheet is not only for young writers, but new English speakers, persons in literacy classes, families who want to write together to honor the December 10, 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Celebrate the UDHR in your home or your classroom, your school or church by letter-writing with a youngster.  Better to light a candle, than curse the darkness; “Write a letter, change a life.”

Ellen V. Moore worked at Amnesty International for over 30 years as the Urgent Action Program Coordinator and has also served on the Board of Directors at Amnesty International USA.