Webinar: Telling Your City’s Story – Preparing UPR Cities Reports

EVENT DETAILS: 

When: Wednesday, September 11th, 2019
Time:  6:00PM EDT/3:00PM Pacific
Where: Online Webinar
Cost: FREE

Help “bring human rights home.” Join cities around the country to hold US public officials accountable to global human rights!

The US Human Rights Cities Alliance invites you to participate in the UPR Cities Project, which supports local efforts to document local human rights conditions as part of a United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States’ human rights record. We invite organizers to participate in local human rights reviews and build a national cities stakeholder report. In this webinar you can learn how to structure your local report for the United Nations Universal Periodic Review and how else to bring your city’s voice into our national cities stakeholder report. Regardless of whether you’re just starting out or whether you’ve spent months building your local human rights assessment, your city can be part of this important effort to strengthen human rights in the United States.

Previous UPR Cities webinars are available online at: http://wiki.humanrightscities.mayfirst.org/index.php?title=UPR_Cities_Project

To register for the webinar, please send your name, organization (if applicable), and location to: uprcities@humanrightscities.mayfirst.org.

>> Learn more

Webinar on Universal Periodic Review Process – Sept. 4

EVENT DETAILS: 
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: shankins@ushrnetwork.org

Please click the link below to join the webinar: 
https://zoom.us/j/688087460 

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: https://zoom.us/u/ad95Zbkz2

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.” 

SO WHAT CAN WE DO AS EDUCATORS?
“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

Keep Families Together and Support Alternatives to Detention

The administration has announced plans to capture and deport thousands of undocumented immigrants all across America. Though the raids have been delayed—for now—the safety, health, and well-being of immigrant children and families continues to be threatened. More than 160 national and state organizations, including NEA, have endorsed two bills to help keep immigrant children and families safe—and together. 

Send an email urging your representative in the House to cosponsor the Humane Enforcement and Legal Protections (HELP) for Separated Children Act (H.R. 3451) and the Help Separated Families Act (H.R. 3452).
>> Take action

The Alternatives to Detention Act recognizes that asylum seekers, migrant children and families, and other vulnerable groups should not be in dangerous, overcrowded mass detention centers. Instead, they should be treated with dignity and await the outcome of their immigration cases in settings like community-based supervision and support. 

Email your members of Congress and tell them to cosponsor and support the Alternatives to Detention Act.
>> Take action

HRE USA Joins Call to Disband State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights

HRE USA joined a coalition of civil society leaders calling for the immediate disbandment of the U.S. State Department’s “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” due to serious concerns over the commission’s purpose, process, and membership. In a public letter organized by Human Rights First, signatories expressed alarm at the extreme views of many of the Commission’s members, and noted that the body’s stated purpose will harm the global effort to protect the rights of all people.

The commission was ostensibly formed to examine how the existing international consensus on human rights aligns with an interpretation of the American “founders’ ideas of individual liberty and constitutional government,” Secretary of State Pompeo said when announcing its creation earlier this month. In a letter—signed by 179 non-governmental organizations and 251 individuals, including former senior government officials, faith community leaders, scholars, educators, and advocates—HRE USA calls on Secretary Pompeo to immediately disband the body.

HRE USA shares in the coalition’s skepticism of the Commission, noting that President Trump’s racist rhetoric and attacks on America’s free press and judiciary, as well as his administration’s role in separating children from their parents, and selectively highlighting the human rights records of some countries while downplaying those of others, among other actions, undermine U.S. credibility on human rights.

The signatories stressed in the letter a concern that the Commission’s express purpose is to circumscribe the rights of some marginalized groups, while creating a hierarchy of rights similar to those frequently favored by repressive regimes.  To illustrate, the letter details various statements made by the ten commissioners in support of “indefensible” human rights violations. For example, one commission member described gender identity as “a matter of mental illness or some other pathology;” another has argued against the use of contraception “even when that use is meant to limit the spread of disease.” 

In addition to the ideologically slanted makeup of the Commission, the letter also addresses the purpose of the commission. “It is a fundamental tenet of human rights,” the letter states, “that all rights are universal and equal.” The creation of a hierarchy of rights is a common tactic for autocratic regimes seeking to limit rights. Signatories encourage Pompeo’s office to instead use their resources to act on the many pressing human rights issues plaguing us at home and abroad.

The letter, which was covered by NBC and The Hill, expresses concerns similar to another signed Tuesday by 22 senators. 

2019 Steering Committee Nominations

Interested in helping shape the future of human rights education? Then consider nominating yourself or a colleague to join HRE USA’s Steering Committee. 

Our rules call for the election every summer of new Steering Committee members to replace retiring members. This year there are 2 open seats to be filled, and we invite all members to make nominations for their replacements. You may nominate anyone who fits the criteria for membership and can fulfill the responsibilities of Steering Committee members, including nominating yourself!

Brief biographies of current Steering Committee members can be viewed here. A ballot will be sent to all HRE USA members in July.

Elected Steering Committee members will serve a three-year term beginning in August 2019.

DEADLINE: TUESDAY, JULY 9, 2019

>> Learn more
>> Nomination Form

For further inquiries, please contact Emily Farell

UPR Webinar – Why should I internationalize my issue?

EVENT DETAILS: 

When: Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Where: Online Webinar
Time:  3:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM PT 
Cost: Free and open to the public

Please register for the call here.

The U.S. Human Rights Network is hosting an introductory webinar on how to use the Universal Periodic Review to amplify your issue and advocate for justice. The webinar will answer the questions:

  • “How can I hold the government accountable for its flagrant violations of human rights?”
  • “How does the human rights framework relate to my issue?”
  • “Why should I internationalize my issue?”
  • “Why should I engage with the United Nations?”
  • “What is the Universal Periodic Review?”
  • “How can I get involved with the Universal Periodic Review?”

USHRN Deputy Director Salimah Hankins and independent expert Joshua Cooper will offer an introduction to the human rights framework, international mechanisms, and the Universal Periodic Review. 

This webinar is the first in a series of six webinars from July through September on the Universal Periodic Review. Each webinar will become gradually more specific and technical, aimed at assisting NGOs and activists with drafting their own stakeholder reports for the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of the United States. 

The July 10th webinar is open to the public including non-members. 

Click to watch a short video of Malcolm X discussing the value of the
human rights framework and the internationalization of issues.

“There are many of our people who are thinking more deeply and more broadly, and are beginning to see the importance of lifting [our issues] out of the national or domestic context, beyond the jurisdiction of the United States government. The only way this can be done is by internationalizing the problem and putting it at a level where it can be taken into the United Nations. Then, all of the other independent nations on this earth can involve themselves in our struggle and support us.” – Malcom X

Click here to view information about the call on the USHRN calendar.
 

Hold the US Accountable to its Human Rights Obligations

Hold the US Accountable to its Human Rights Obligations   
Join HRE USA and the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) in holding the US accountable to its human rights obligations. 

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. The deadline for the US government to submit a report is February 2020. The current administration did not elect to submit a mid-term report, which was due this month. To date,  four US-based NGO stakeholders submitted mid-term reports to the UN, including Human Rights Educators USA.

The UPR is all about accessibility. Advocates of all experience levels, backgrounds, and interests can participate and influence this process. Ideally, the results of your consultation will be shared with the UN via a brief “shadow report.”

Final stakeholder “shadow” reports by NGOs and Indigenous Peoples on the human rights records of the US are due on October 3, 2019, ahead of the country’s May review in Geneva. There are several ways you can the USHRN UPR effort:Apply to join the USHRN-facilitated UPR Taskforce.Apply to join the USHRN UPR and/or International Mechanisms listservs to receive periodic updates.Participate in the UPR Cities Project, a new initiative of the USHRN member-led Human Rights Cities Alliance.If you would like to join the UPR Taskforce or Listservs, or if you would like more information on how to participate in the UPR, please contact Roberto Borrero, International Mechanisms Director at: rborrero@ushrnetwork.org.    

Take Action on the Rights of the Child – Call Your Mayor

Although the US has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), there are a number of cities that have supported its provision. The CRC is important to safeguard children’s rights to safety, to well-being, and to remain with their families.

This June there will be US Conference of Mayors to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii. The conference provides a great opportunity for all of us to defend and promote the rights of children in our country.

HRE USA urges everyone to reach out to their Mayor’s Office by calling and/or emailing to: 

  • Find out if your Mayor will be attending the conference to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii from June 28-July 1, 2019
  • Urge your Mayor to raise his/her support for the CRC city resolution passed in their city as a model for other mayors. 

Check here to see if your Mayor is registered to attend.

It might take several attempts to reach the Mayor’s Office, but we all know that change does not come easily. Whether you succeeded or failed in getting an answer, please let HRE USA know. 

To get involved and join the working group, please contact Benil Mostafa

>> Learn more about HRE USA CRC Campaign

2019 Steering Committee Nominations

Interested in helping shape the future of human rights education? Then consider nominating yourself or a colleague to join HRE USA’s Steering Committee. 

Our rules call for the election every summer of new Steering Committee members to replace retiring members. This year there are 2 open seats to be filled, and we invite all members to make nominations for their replacements. You may nominate anyone who fits the criteria for membership and can fulfill the responsibilities of Steering Committee members, including nominating yourself!

Brief biographies of current Steering Committee members can be viewed here. A ballot will be sent to all HRE USA members in July.

Elected Steering Committee members will serve a three-year term beginning in August 2019.

DEADLINE: TUESDAY, JULY 9, 2019

>> Learn more
>> Nomination Form

For further inquiries, please contact Emily Farell