Building Awareness

Creating and Sustaining Awareness of LGBTQI Rights

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LGBTQI rights are fought for with a spectrum of tactics. In some states, gay citizens and allies march in pride parades and mark themselves with rainbows; in others, activists work in secrecy to protect their safety. Homophobia takes many forms and stems from a multitude of sources, each one different from the next. LGBTQI rights are human rights and must be upheld accordingly, but this lack of uniformity leads to distinct challenges in advocating for these rights on a global scale. Today, activists around the world confront a multitude of bigotry as they fight for the universal protection of queer individuals. In this conversation, participants discussed challenges and strategies for promoting LGBTQI rights through local and international actions across a range of situations.

Cultural Resistance: The Power of Music and Visual Art as Protest

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Protest art has been practiced throughout history, especially serving the anti-war movement in the mid-20th century. Today, art has become a powerful and international language to speak against all forms of human rights violations, along with other activism. For example, during the Arab Spring, the arts were used to make anti-authoritarian statements. The photographer and graphic designer, Nermine Hammam, captures the fundamental frailty of rule by force in the global community in her exhibition Cairo Year One by combining the realities of the conflict with a surreal and idealistic background. Tunisian folk-rock singer Emel Mathlouthi and rapper El General used music to rail against the state brutality and the suffering of Egypt’s youth and working class, which attracted considerable attention from protestors and transformed into a powerful protest song. The protest art of the Arab Spring has since joined a broader dialogue between protest art of the past and present, in mediums as diverse as books, film, performance art, and multimedia.

The Use of Data Visualization in Human Rights Advocacy

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Data visualizations can be an incredible resource for human rights defenders, but understanding what data to use, as well as when and how to use data can be an overwhelming and daunting task. As of 2014, IBM found that each day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created; that is a lot of information to sort and share. A simple online search will yield many statistics stating that humans understand and absorb information faster as visual representation than text-based. Interestingly, a 2010 study by S. Bresciani, et al found that even when accounting for cultural variances “the visual representation of information objectively increases understanding and recall.” In short, taking troves of data that human rights defenders come across in their work, both knowingly and unknowingly, and converting it into visual representations of that data, can be a powerful tool. However, used incorrectly data visualizations can be misleading and, in some instances, harmful or dangerous.

The Role of Diaspora in Refugee Resettlement

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In September of 2016, a high-level summit on large movements of refugees and migrants was called, a first at the Heads of State and Government level, by the UN General Assembly. The goal was to seek a better international response to the growing refugee situation. As local conflicts and global tensions between countries have been exasperated in recent years, more than 65.3 million people are currently facing years of displacement after fleeing violence in their own homelands. Numerous issues have been raised, particularly focusing on the responsibility of host countries (countries that receive refugees) to protect, assist, and resettle.

Combating Corruption in the Public Sector

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According to Transparency International, a global anti-corruption coalition, sixty-eight percent of the world countries has a serious corruption problem and this includes half of G20. More than six billion people live in countries with serious corruption issues. The Corruption Perceptions Index is a global indicator of public sector corruption, providing an annual level of corruption by ranking countries. The characteristics of the countries which score well are countries with liberal open democracies with an independent judiciary and a free press. At the same time, corruption can be defined from several different perspectives.

Protection of Indigenous Land Rights: Challenges & Remedies

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There are estimated to be 370 million indigenous people in the world, from 5,000 different ethnic groups, living in 90 countries. James Anaya, former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, has defined indigenous people as "living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others. They are culturally distinct groups that find themselves engulfed by other settler societies born of forces of empire and conquest." Despite the United Nations having issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including land rights, the land rights of indigenous people have increasingly come under threat.

Video for Change and Impact

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The use of video as a tool for creating social change is determined by the impact that video can have on individuals. Understanding the intended and unintended consequences, both positive and negative, of the use of video in advocacy efforts is critical to its implementation in successful social change.

In this conversation, discussion leaders and participants evaluated how impact can be created and how individuals and organizations can measure, monitor, and evaluate the impact of their video for change efforts. Conversation leaders explored the stages at which impact can occur (research, training, production, filming, and screening) and discussed how to design appropriate strategies given desired impacts.

Intersectional Human Rights Organizing: A Strategy for Building Inclusive and Transformational Movements

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Although the terminology may be new to some, intersectionality is not a new concept. As long as people have faced multiple threats to their dignity and humanity, they have experienced intersectionality. But it is U.S.-based Black women, other women of color, and women of the global south who have developed our present understanding of how our social identities—race, gender, class, sexuality, etc. function; how the systems that maintain these identities—racism, sexism, capitalism, heterosexism—work together to compound our oppression; and, therefore, how we must work collectively to eradicate these systems. Thus, intersectionality not only boldly claims the value of the lives of marginalized and oppressed peoples by centering our experiences and strategies, but asserts the need to work collaboratively towards our collective liberation.

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