Human Rights Forum at Augsburg University

When: October 28-29, 2019
Where: Augsburg University, 2211 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454
Cost: $25-$100

Building on Augsburg University’s 30-year history hosting a global forum, and as part of the university’s sesquicentennial celebration, we are pleased to announce the launch of the new Human Rights Forum. The forum will bring students, thoughtful leaders, global changemakers, and local activists together to explore innovative ways to take action in our ongoing pursuit of human rights issues both globally and domestically.

The opening day will focus on global issues and perspectives and is developed in partnership with the Human Rights Foundation, a nonprofit that sponsors the Oslo Freedom Forum each year, both founded by Thor Halvorssen, a Venezuelan human rights activist. The Human Rights Foundation has an impressive roster of young and diverse human rights activists and promotes and protects human rights globally within authoritarian regimes.

Our second day will feature speakers and sessions exploring domestic and national issues on racial justice, indigenous rights, and environmental sustainability. This day of programming will include several named lectures developed with and sponsored by campus departments and centers, partner institutions, and sponsors. Access our speakersprogram and general information via the menu bar. Tickets are now available, and the event is open to the public.

>> Learn more and register

FREE Webinar on Immigration with Journalist Sonia Nazario

When: Thursday, October 17, 2019
Time:  7:00 pm EST
Where: Online Webinar
Cost: FREE

With more than 250 million migrants around the globe, including more than 65 million refugees, migration has sparked intense partisan debate, inspired advocacy, and changed the face of cities, neighborhoods, and schools.

Join Facing History and OurselvesWrite the World, and Share My Lesson for a FREE webinar that will explore powerful human stories behind this global trend in conversation with Sonia Nazario, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother. Years after his mother left him behind in Honduras to seek work in the United States, Enrique embarked on a harrowing odyssey to find her. Join us to discuss the importance of stories in addressing today’s challenges of borders and belonging, and learn about Facing History and Ourselves’ extensive resources for teaching about immigration in social studies and literature classrooms. 

Participants will receive access to Facing History’s study guide for the YA version of Enrique’s Journey, along with current events lessons and other multimedia resources.

>> Learn more and register

Teach Central America Week

Join educators across the country for #TeachCentralAmerica week from October 7 – 13, 2019

More than four million Central Americans reside in the United States and migration from the region is headline news. However, most schools teach very little about Central America, including the long history of U.S. involvement in the region. Central America is too-often portrayed as simply a strip of land on a map connecting North and South America. Students are left to imagine that their Central American heritage, or that of their peers, is insignificant. Teachers have learned little of the history themselves and there is a scarcity of literature in the school libraries. 

To help fill this gap, Teaching for Change has launched the #TeachCentralAmerica campaign. The goal of the campaign is to encourage and support teaching about Central America in K-12 schools so that students can learn about this region, which has many ties to the United States through foreign policy, immigration, commerce, and culture.

>> Learn more

HRE USA at Progressive Education Network Conference

This Friday, October 4th, HRE USA will be at the National Progressive Education Network Conference in Minneapolis, MN.

Please stop by our booth, check out our free resources, see the winning art from our national UDHR poster contest, and learn more about how you can get involved in HRE USA.

This year’s conference theme is “Educating for Democracy: Navigating the Current and Channeling the Future of Progressive Education.” The conference will be jam-packed with energetic workshops led by passionate educators who are ready to engage with colleagues from all around the country to introduce, renew, affirm and create progressive practices – creating a mighty current that will transform education.

We hope to see you there!

>> Learn more and register for the PEN conference

Webinar on Universal Periodic Review Process – Sept. 4

When: Wednesday, September 4
Time:  11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT
Where: Online Webinar
Cost: FREE

Join USHRN for their fifth Webinar Wednesday on the UPR process to answer the questions:

“How do I submit a stakeholder report?”
“What are the deadlines involved in stakeholder reporting?”

In May 2020, the United States will undergo a “Universal Periodic Review” (UPR) of its domestic human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council. The UPR is an exciting and tangible advocacy opportunity for US-based NGOs to engage the UN on strengthening human rights in the United States. The UN UPR Working Group will review the United States in April-May 2020. 

Final stakeholder reports by NGOs on the human rights records of the US are due at the end of September 2019. The US Human Rights Network is facilitating issue-based working groups who will draft and submit stakeholder reports to USHRN by September 20, 2019. 
Join the USHRN webinars to find out more about the process and the opportunity to hold the US. government accountable to its human rights obligations. 

Save the Date! Upcoming Webinars:

  • September 4: Webinar #5 – Thematic/issue-based approach to stakeholder reporting, with special guests who have experience engaging with the United Nations around their issue.
  • September 18: Webinar #6 – A full hour dedicated to your questions on stakeholder reporting, just ahead of the submission deadline.
  • October 16: Webinar #7 – After you have submitted your stakeholder report, it’s time to talk about going to Geneva and engagement with the U.S. government. Join us for an introduction to engaging at the UPR Working Group review of the United States in 2020.

If you have any questions regarding the Webinar Wednesdays series or the Universal Periodic Review, please contact USHRN Deputy Director Salimah Hankins:

Please click the link below to join the webinar: 

Or iPhone one-tap:
US: +16699006833,,688087460#
or +19292056099,,688087460# 

Or Telephone:
US: +1 669 900 6833  
or +1 929 205 6099 
Webinar ID: 688 087 460
International numbers available:

Is Toxic Masculinity Killing Us? What Can Teachers Do?

The amount of mass shootings across the U.S. so far in 2019 has outpaced the number of days this year, according to a gun violence research group. This puts 2019 on pace to be the first year since 2016 with an average of more than one mass shooting a day.

We all want to be safe and secure, and to live without fear, and that’s a human right that we all have. But in the U.S., gun violence is an epidemic that directly threatens these rights. 

Other than the use of a gun, the common denominator linking all such attacks is glaringly obvious and yet worryingly absent from much of our discussion about gun violence. This common denominator applies to all but three of the more than 150 mass shootings in which four or more people in the US were killed in public between 1966 and earlier this year. The perpetrators are not all white nationalists, but they are almost all men.

When you look at the pattern among many of the men who have committed some of the most heinous acts of violence in our nation’s recent history, they frequently share a common trait of hating, and perpetrating violence against, women. A 2017 HuffPost investigation found that in 59% of mass shootings between 2015 and early November 2017, the suspected shooter had a history of domestic violence and/or killed an intimate partner or family member in the shooting.  According to a systematic analysis of 22 mass shootings by Mother Jones, there is “a strong overlap between toxic masculinity and public mass shootings.” Virtually all of them also suffer some form of aggrieved entitlement—“an existential state of fear about having my ‘rightful place’ as a male questioned…challenged…deconstructed.” In addition to high-profile mass shootings that make national headlines, many everyday incidents of gun violence in the United Statesinvolve domestic abuse.

So while stricter gun laws seem like a no brainer, we can’t just focus on symptoms. We also need to attack this problem at its source, which is toxic masculinity. As prominent feminist Jessica Valenti puts it: “The longer we ignore the toxic masculinity that underlies so many of these crimes, the more violence we’re enabling.” 

“In an article for Teaching Tolerance entitled, Toxic Masculinity Is Bad for Everyone: Why Teachers Must Disrupt Gender Norms Every Day, Colleen Clemens writes, Toxic masculinity, the idea that there is only one way to ‘be a man’—strong, tough, unfeeling and aggressive—is a double-edged sword. First, it harms the boys and men who fail to live up to gendered expectations of who they should be. Then, sometimes, these men perpetrate violence in response, leaving innocent victims in their wake. Because gender expectations amount to a moving target that no one can hit, no matter how hard they try, toxic masculinity is always a losing game. A vacuum is created when we tell a boy over and over that  he is “not a man,” that he needs to “man up” or “grow a pair.” What if that vacuum is filled by a need to prove his power? What if the proof is violence?
As educators, it is time we decouple sex from gender and talk about how this twisted brand of cultural masculinity—not biological maleness—plays a role in creating violence in our classrooms, hallways, workplaces, and sanctuaries. Once we shift the discussion away from sex and biology and toward gender and culture, then we can begin to work toward solutions.” 

To get started, check out the following resources on how you can promote healthy masculinity early and teach boys and young men to recognize, reject, and challenge toxic masculinity. 

>> LIVERESPECT: Coaching Healthy and Respectful Manhood (Educator Guide) 
>> NYT Lesson: Boys to Men – Teaching and Learning about Masculinity in an Age of Change
>> ADL Lesson: The Trap of Masculinity: How Sexism Impacts Boys and Men
>> Teaching Tolerance Resources on Toxic Masculinity
>> Jackson Katz TED Talk – Violence Against Women – it’s a Men’s Issue
>> Article: Challenging toxic masculinity in schools and society
>> Article: 6 Harmful Effects Of Toxic Masculinity