Amid Crises, UNICEF USA Launches Program to Help Kids in US

NEW YORK (August 12, 2020) – on August 12, 2020,  International Youth Day, an annual observance to celebrate young peoples’ voices, actions and meaningful, equitable engagement, UNICEF USA announced the launch of the Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) in the United States. Houston, TX; San Francisco, CA; Minneapolis, MN and Prince George’s County, MD will serve as the first cohort of cities and the first country to implement an ambitious, two-year process toward recognition as a UNICEF Child Friendly City.  

Originally created in 1996, UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative uses a child rights-based framework to build a roadmap for establishing safer, more just, equitable, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities around the world. Since its inception, CFCI has been adopted in over 3,000 municipalities in 40 countries. UNICEF USA applauds these municipalities for their commitment to using this framework to build better communities for children. 

“This year has seen so many challenges that have deeply impacted children and families, and also shown the important role that local governments play in supporting them,” said UNICEF USA President and CEO Michael J. Nyenhuis. “As an organization that has dedicated nearly 74 years to protecting and supporting children around the world, UNICEF USA is proud to use this moment to help build better communities for children here in the United States alongside Houston, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Prince George’s County.” 

In its pursuit of recognition as a Child Friendly City, government officials and community leaders in Houston, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Prince George’s County will conduct a situational analysis of child well-being in each city. Based on these findings, the cities will implement an action plan that prioritizes the best interests of children and youth within their local policies. CFCI will empower leaders to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism on children, work to combat discrimination and elevate their voices in local governance and decision-making.

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For more information about Child Friendly Cities Initiative in the Unites States, visit
To take action and encourage cities across the United States to become more child friendly, visit

Support the Breathe Act

The BREATHE Act is the modern-day Civil Rights Act that we deserve. The Act offers a radical reimagining of public safety, community care, and how we spend money as a society. We bring 4 simple ideas to the table:

  • Divest federal resources from incarceration and policing.
  • Invest in new, non-punitive, non-carceral approaches to community safety that lead states to shrink their criminal-legal systems and center the protection of Black lives—including Black mothers, Black trans people, and Black women.
  • Allocate new money to build healthy, sustainable, and equitable communities.
  • Hold political leaders to their promises and enhance the self-determination of all Black communities

Get to know and share out the 17 demands by Black Lives Matter that address COVID-19’s disproportionate effect on black and brown communities. Study and support the Breathe Act authored and organized by the Electoral Justice Project of the Movement for Black Lives and over 150 organizations.   

>> Learn more and take action

FREE Human Rights Yes! Training Manuals

Human Rights Educators USA and Gleason Printing have teamed up to help offer two free human rights education training manuals:

Human Rights Yes!: Action and Advocacy on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is a comprehensive human rights curriculum on the rights of persons with disabilities developed by leading experts in the fields of disability rights, international human rights law, human rights education, and grassroots advocacy. Human Rights. Yes! is Topic Book 6 in the Human Rights Education Series published by the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center. It draws on the full body of international human rights law, with a focus on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The book utilizes an active learning approach and is intended to serve as a resource for disabled people’s organizations, human rights advocates, national human rights institutions, governmental human rights focal points, and international development and humanitarian assistance organizations.

 These manuals are FREE with the exception of paying the shipping & handling charge.

While shopping, please check out our UDHR posters and our  Human Rights booklets on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

Free Course on Use of Deadly Force by Police in the U.S.

Police violence is a human rights crisis. We must step up to protect our communities across the U.S. against excessive use of force.  In order to promote action against police violence in the United States, Amnesty International USA has developed a FREE micro-learning course on the use of deadly force by police in the U.S.  By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  • Define the Use of Force and articulate under which circumstances authorities are allowed to use it
  • Understand how racist and discriminatory ideology has shaped the history of policing in the USA
  • Outline how U.S. police use excessive force and describe how it threatens human rights
  • Take action by organizing and mobilizing your community to support systemic reform of USA policing to end racism and stop human rights violations

>> Start course

Fund a Voter Registration Drive With a Grant from TT

To help encourage voters to register in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, TT is offering grants ranging from $500-$2,000 for educators in these states. These funds support school community members and students to host voter registration drives at their schools and in their communities.


>> Learn more and apply

Human Rights Learning Lab for Young People

When: Fridays, August 7, 14, 21, 2020 
Time: 12:00 pm PT, 2:00 pm CT, 3:00 pm ET
Length: 75-90 minutes per session
Where: Live Stream
Cost: FREE

As we shelter in place join Amnesty International for Friday’s in July-August as we explore human rights through interactive learning activities designed for grade levels 3rd-8th.   

Children have often been told that they are the future, that they will solve the world’s problems, innovate solutions, and be “the leaders of tomorrow.” But why does it have to be tomorrow?  

Now, more than ever is the time to speak to young people about universal human rights.  We know children are brave, powerful, and inquisitive.  The human rights learning lab will tailor age-appropriate learning through activities that will focus on: 

  • Introducing basic concepts focused on teaching “what are human rights?”
  • Observing human rights in your community and today’s world
  • Storytelling
  • What you can do!

Participants will receive a “Human Rights Hero Certificate of Recognition” from Amnesty International. For more information please contact

>> Learn more and RSVP

USHRN Human Rights Report

The US Human Rights Network recently released its annual human rights report.  This year’s report takes an entirely new form from previous years, spotlighting nearly a dozen member organizations and members from the communities they serve. The report strives to bridge the gap between the human rights framework and the lived reality of people directly impacted by human rights violations. By focusing on the voices of their members, the report serves as a platform for them to tell their stories. 

>> Access Report

Teach and Demand Justice for George Floyd

The horrifying and senseless death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police has thrown the State of Minnesota and the entire country into a state of grief and turmoil.

It’s yet another example of the racism that black, brown and indigenous peoples in the United States live with every day. It’s also an opportunity for us to join together and rewrite the rules so everyone, with no exceptions, can thrive without fear, care for their families, have their voices heard, and their rights respected.

As Pedro Noguera wrote, “Educators. This is a teachable moment. Don’t be afraid to teach about the meaning of justice and the murder of George Floyd by the police. Our students are watching.”

Here are some things you can do.

Anti-Racism Teaching Resources:

Organizations/funds to donate to:

Actions to take:

Congress Needs To Do More To Address The Coronavirus Crisis

Close the Homework Gap

More money is needed for the Education Stabilization Fund to help fill state budget gaps so students don’t suffer and educators aren’t laid off. Congress should increase funding for the E-Rate program by at least $2 billion to help close the “homework gap” experienced by students who don’t have access to the internet at home.

Tell Congress to Include Student Debt Cancellation in COVID-19 Relief Efforts

The coronavirus pandemic has had devastating effects on the health and economic security of families and individuals. As Congress considers additional legislation to help the millions who are suffering, measures to ease the burden of our nation’s 45 million student loan borrowers should be included. The average educator begins a career with about $35,000 in student loan debt. The Student Debt Emergency Relief Act (H.R. 6363), introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), would cancel at least $30,000 in outstanding student loan debt, boosting consumer spending and reducing the financial strain on educators and other borrowers.

>> Learn more
>> Take action