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Category: Take Action
The Black Census Project
The Black Census Project is an ambitious data project is undertaken by the Black Futures Lab. Their Deputy Director, Kristin Powell, will be our guest on the October 6th episode of Talking Data Equity. The aim of the Black Census Project is to conduct the largest survey of Black people in the US in 157 years. It is to ensure that Black people across the US are listed to and asked about rather than spoken about. If you want to host a Black Census Project House Party, get the info here.
National Walk to Free Leonard Peltier Kicks Off in Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS—The American Indian Movement (AIM) Grand Governing Council hosted a rally in Cedar Field Park to kick off a 15-week national walk demanding the release of Leonard Peltier.
The “Walk to Justice: Free Leonard Peltier” will travel from Minneapolis through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, ending in Washington, D.C. on November 14.
Criminalization of Homelessness is Racially Discriminatory, Must be Abolished, Say UN Human Rights Experts. Also Calls for “All Necessary Measures to Eliminate Segregation”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2022
Contact: Erika Lopez
(202) 638-2535 Ext.110
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND- The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva yesterday stated “it remains concerned at the increasing number of state and local laws that criminalize homelessness and at the disproportionately high number of persons belonging to racial and ethnic minorities affected by homelessness,” and called upon the U.S. government to take corrective action, following a hearing earlier this month.
Using its strongest language, the Committee, which issued similar concerns during the U.S.’s last review in 2014, further “reiterates its recommendation that the [U.S.] abolish laws and policies that criminalize homelessness; implement strong financial and legal incentives to decriminalize homelessness, including by conditioning or withdrawing funding from state and local authorities that criminalize homelessness and encourage them to redirect funding from criminal justice responses to adequate housing and shelter programs, in particular for persons belonging to racial and ethnic minorities most affected by homelessness.”
The Committee’s statement is part of its Concluding Observations, following a two day review ealier this month of U.S. government compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a treaty ratified by the U.S. in 1994. The National Homelessness Law Center (“NHLC”), which submitted a report to the Committee in partnership with the University of Miami School of Law International Human Rights Clinic, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Partners for Dignity and Rights, Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equity, and the South Florida Community Development Coalition, as part of the review process, applauded the Committee’s findings.
“The U.N. was clear today: criminalizing homelessness is racially discriminatory, violates the human rights obligations we have to our citizens, and it needs to end, now,” said Eric Tars, Legal Director at NHLC. “States like Tennessee, who just made it a felony to camp on public lands, despite the lack of adequate, affordable housing, and Missouri, passing a template bill criminalizing camping and taking funds away from permanent housing to put it toward internment camps for homeless persons, are giving the U.S.’s reputation a black eye abroad and perpetuating discriminatory impacts at home.”
David Peery, Executive Director of Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equity (MCARE) adds, “The UN Report makes clear that criminalizing homelessness increases racial inequities, making it harder for unhoused persons to escape the trauma of homelessness. We ask that Miami abandon its plan to deport our homeless residents to an isolated island. Instead, we should use our city’s resources to provide permanent supportive housing to the victims of intergenerational poverty and racism who are condemned to live on our city’s streets.”
Recognizing that the disparate racial impact of homelessness comes from “the high degree of residential racial segregation; the persistence of discrimination in access to housing … and the intersection with disability and gender identity; … and criminal records policies which can lead to homelessness,” the Committee also reiterated recommendations to increase enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, including obligations to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, and urged the U.S. to “adopt all necessary measures to eliminate residential segregation, including by addressing the impact of exclusionary zoning and land use laws and practices that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities.”
“The UN Committee has underscored how criminalizing and punishing homelessness has racially discriminatory impacts and contradicts human rights standards,” said Tamar Ezer, the Acting Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. “It is time for the U.S. to abandon these counterproductive polices and invest in real solutions, recognizing the human right to housing, including protection against forced eviction and the availability of housing that is affordable, habitable, accessible, well-located, and culturally adequate.”
The U.S. is required to submit its next report on compliance with the treaty by November 2025. The Law Center and other organizations will hold a Congressional briefing on the Committee’s recommendations in the fall and work with other government agencies to implement them.
The National Homelessness Law Center (The Law Center) is the only national organization dedicated solely to using the power of the law to prevent and end homelessness. With the support of a large network of pro bono lawyers, we address the immediate and long-term needs of people who are homeless or at risk through outreach and training, advocacy, impact litigation, and public education.
Miami Coalition to Advance Racial Equity (MCARE) seeks to dismantle systemic racism that leads to homelessness, lack of access to healthcare and voter suppression in Florida. By focusing our strategies on the most vulnerable, marginalized persons, we lift the floor of social services for all, and we celebrate the rich diversity of our community. Justice for Black Americans is justice for all Americans.
The Human Rights Clinic (HRC), part of Miami Law’s Human Rights Program, works for the promotion of social and economic justice globally and in the U.S. Students gain firsthand experience in cutting-edge human rights litigation and advocacy at the local, national, regional, and international levels.
Zinn Education Project:Teach Truth Days of Action: June 11–12, 2022
It’s time to take action… again.
Last summer, teachers rallied across the country at historic sites to speak out against anti-history education bills and to make public their pledge to teach the truth. These actions, on June 12 and in August of 2021, have been the only national protests of this dangerous legislation.
The teacher-led rallies received national media attention, providing a valuable counter narrative to the oversized coverage of anti-CRT protests at school board meetings.
One year later, we invite educators, students, parents, and community members to rally across the country and pledge to #TeachTruth on June 11 and 12, 2022.
GLOBAL SURVEY TO UPDATE THE 1974 RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING EDUCATION FOR INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING
Take a 10-minute survey to help shape global policy on human rights education. https://survey.unesco.org/3/index.php?r=survey/index&sid=486334&lang=en Available in ENGLISH / FRENCH / SPANISH on this website.
The deadline for responding is 1 March 2022.
UNESCO is conducting a global survey to collect information that will help revise a landmark legal instrument on education for international understanding, cooperation, peace, human rights and environmental sustainability, known as the #1974Recommendation.
UNESCO invites you to participate in the revision process by taking the 10-minute survey. Share it with your networks and help shape global policy on education! Now is the time to ensure your voice is heard and counted.
For more information on how UNESCO is supporting the revision of the #1974Recommendation visit their dedicated website. https://en.unesco.org/themes/gced/1974recommendation
Secretariat for the Review of the 1974 Recommendation: email@example.com
Affordable Housing Crisis in the US
Throughout its history, the United States has perpetuated a double standard in regard to international human rights by urging other nations to protect and promote these rights, while simultaneously forgoing international human rights treaties in favor of its own Constitution and domestic human rights laws. Notably, the United States does not recognize one of the fundamental rights introduced by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and contained in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: The right to adequate housing. Failure to recognize housing as a human or constitutional right has led to a worsening affordable housing crisis in the United States. Domestic policy has proven insufficient to combat this crisis, and the United States must adopt a different approach for resolution. This article by Maria Massimo, argues that state governments should borrow from international human rights treaties and foreign housing law, and recognize housing as a justiciable right in an attempt to mitigate the affordable housing crisis. States can best ensure a right to housing by including housing as a right in their respective constitutions and creating oversight bodies to promote and protect this new constitutional right.
Discriminatory Policies at the Summer Olympics
From The Moment by Learning for Justice
From a policy banning swim caps designed for natural Black hair to a ruling that several Black women can’t compete because of naturally high testosterone levels, some Olympic policies reflect stereotypes and discriminatory dress codes that many Black girls and women face in schools. As you prepare for next school year, check out these resources from Learning for Justice to help you assess your school’s dress code, advocate for inclusion, and check that you don’t reinforce harmful stereotypes about women and women athletes.
Cancel Student Loan Debt
No matter who we are or how much we make, we should all have the opportunity to learn without limits. But the astronomical cost of higher education—even public higher education—forces many students to either forego their dreams or be trapped in a lifetime of debt. But the student debt crisis is not accidental—it is working exactly as designed by lawmakers, banks, and loan servicers. Immediate and broad cancellation of federal student loan debt is a necessary step to ensure we all can thrive—no exceptions.
Urge Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to take immediate action to cancel both the student loan debt of public service workers with at least 10 years of service and $50,000 in student debt for all other federal loans.
Drumbeat 2021: The US Human Rights Network Virtual Gathering
When: September 1-3, 2021
Where: Live Stream
The theme of this year’s USHRN National Gathering, DRUM BEAT 21, is: “Human Rights Here! Human Rights Now!”, circling up not only all our people but our interconnected issues, with a human rights framework and racial justice lens. It’s fitting that DRUM BEAT 21 aligns with the 20th anniversary month of the World Conference in Durban, South Africa, and a current moment in time when the eyes of the world are on law enforcement’s role in ongoing Black and Indigenous genocide, extraction, and exploitation – across the U.S. and all around the globe.
DRUM BEAT 21 will bring member direct-action campaigns’ learnings to the forefront, exploring how each has benefited from applying 1) human rights principles to its internal workings, and 2) international standards and mechanisms to hold their targets to account for minding human rights priorities in policies, budgets, and practices. We will leave with stronger shared analysis, language, tools, and energy for supporting each other’s human rights demands, and living human rights every day, unequivocally.