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June 2016
"America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense it's the other way around. Human rights invented America. 

Ours was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded explicitly on such an idea

~ Jimmy Carter, 
Farewell Address, 1981
To promote human dignity, justice, and peace by cultivating an expansive, vibrant base of support for Human Rights Education (HRE) in the United States.
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Everyone can play a part in promoting HRE in the U.S.
Human rights education resources at your fingertips.
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>> School-wide involvement

Reminder O'Brien Award nominations Due

HRE USA invites nominations for the 2016 Edward O’Brien Human Rights Education Award.

This award recognizes an outstanding contribution to human rights education in the United States.This can be:

1.  A person or organization that has made a significant contribution to human rights education in the U.S.;

  A material resource (e.g., book, curriculum, video, game, poster, song) and the person(s), institution, or organization that created it;

3.  A practical resource (e.g., methodology, outreach program, degree program, policy initiative); and the person(s), institution, or organization that developed it.

The 2016 Edward O’Brien Human Rights Education Award will be presented in early December during the conference of the National Council for the Social Studies in Washington, DC.

>> Learn more
>> Download Nomination Form
>> Remembering Ed O'Brien (1945-2015)

Send inquiries for nominations to Nancy Flowers

Steering Committee Nominations

Do you know someone, or do you want to join, our steering committee and help shape the future of human rights education?

This invitation includes nominating yourself!

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

>> Learn more
Send inquiries and nominations to Kirby Edmonds, HRE USA co-chair.


Teen Students Talk Racism and Educators Listen 

By David Sheridan, National Education Association (NEA)

Earlier this year, NEA and the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) brought together teenage students and educators from the Dallas-Arlington area to talk about institutional racism and how it affects the students’ lives.

And the educators learned a vital truth about today’s teens: They are acutely aware of racial discrimination in America, and given the opportunity, will engage in robust conversations about racism’s impact on them and our society.

As one participant, Luis, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, later said: “You created a place where I felt safe to discuss the difficult subject of racism and the fact that I am undocumented. It was cathartic.”

Paola, a 18-year-old high school senior, reported she came away from the meeting feeling more “hopeful and courageous—I am more likely now to speak up when someone says something dehumanizing and racist.”

The educators in attendance also heard things that were painful to hear. One student from Africa related that when her teacher had trouble pronouncing her name and she tried to help, the teacher mocked her: “Do we have any other Bunqueeshas or Shenaquas in the class?” Another student reported hearing his math teacher say in class to a Muslim student: “I can see you making a bomb.”

>> Read full article
>> Take Action

Four Times a Refugee
Human Rights Watch Student Task Force Event

April 26, 2016: For the second year in a row, Dr. Henry Oster, Holocaust survivor and teenage refugee, returned to the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force to help students commemorate Genocide Awareness and Prevention month. 

Photo: Henry Oster speaking with students

This year he tied his personal story of tragedy and triumph to the current global refugee crisis. And just as his first visit with STF last spring, students listened in awe and silence to Henry’s presentation, followed by a torrent of questions as they crowded around him after his talk. Students expressed their appreciation that Henry shares his painful experiences so that young people can better understand the lessons of history for today’s troubled world. Rising leader Kaden Kessel said, “Dr. Oster was inspirational and I can’t wait to see him again!” Others made plans to invite Henry to speak at their schools.

Before Henry spoke, more than 60 students, teachers and supporters participated in: 1) reenacting STF calls last fall to the White House urging President Obama to do more to protect refugees; 2) sharing campus conversations involving anti-refugee sentiments; 3) and demonstrations of three very different meetings with Congressional representatives regarding efforts to stop HR4038, “the American Safety Against Foreign Enemies Act.” Participants then discussed how they can continue to grow as human rights advocates.

Chapter leaders took action once again on behalf of refugees by writing to 31 U.S. governors, opposing their efforts to keep Syrian refugees out of their states in recent months. STFers asked the governors to reconsider their positions, reminding them that “playing on fear is not only bad for our country, but sends a message that could harm refugees abroad.”

>> Read more about Henry Oster and view slideshow


Bookmarks: A Manual for Combatting Hate Speech Online through HRE

Hate speech is one of the most worrying forms of racism and discrimination and it is amplified by the Internet and social media. Hate speech online is the visible tip of the iceberg of intolerance and ethnocentrism. Young people are directly concerned as agents and victims of online abuse of human rights and we need young people to care and look after human rights, the life insurance for democracy.  

Published the Council of Europe to support their No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign, Bookmarks is useful for educators wanting to address hate speech online from a human rights perspective, both inside and outside the formal education system. The manual is designed for working with learners aged 13 to 18 but the activities can be adapted to other age ranges. This revised edition of Bookmarks includes more information and activities about the Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users, updated information about the No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign and practical proposals of workshops to combat hate speech in both formal and non-formal education context.

>> Learn more and purchase

Human Rights: Towards a Global Values System

Human Rights: Towards a Global Values System provides an overview of critical human rights debates and issues today and in the past. While the idea of human rights is not a universally agreed upon concept, the aim of this book is to explain, encourage and support an expanded notion of human rights as a universal values system for all global citizens to embrace. This expanded notion of human rights is not just a modern or Western concept; it has broad and deep historical roots that span diverse cultures, societies, and nations throughout the world. Designed to help global citizens acquire knowledge, attitudes, and skills, this book will help students to become better informed about the complex issue of human rights and more actively engage in working for change. The book also includes free online educator resources.

>> Learn more and purchase

Speak Truth to Power Summer Programs

  • July 23-30, Los Angeles, CA
  • August 1-5, New York, NY
The Speak Truth To Power Theater Program merges human rights education with social justice theater to address the realities of oppression and create tools for liberation.  
>> Download Flyer

  • June 22, Washington, D.C.
  • July 18-19, July 25, and July 30, Los Angeles, CA
  • July 27-29, Austin, TX
  • August 2-4, New York, NY
The Speak Truth to Power Summer institute introduces participants to Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Speak Truth to Power programs.  The institute will deepen your understanding of Human Rights Education and pedagogy through active engagement in learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Human Rights Framework.

 >> Download Flyer
For more information about either of these programs, contact Karen Robinson
The World As It Could Be Summer Institute
Tuesday-Thursday, August 2-4
 Balboa High School, San Francisco

Sign up for the seventh highly acclaimed three-day institute on The World As It Could Be Human Rights Education Program curriculum.

The intended audience includes:
  • San Francisco Unified School District Middle & High School Teachers
  • Teachers, Administrators, Curriculum Developers of Bay Area High Schools
  • University Faculty and Graduate Students

Twenty-one hours of Continuing Education Credit or 2 CEUs are provided by the University of San Francisco for a cost of $100;  There is no charge to attend if not seeking CEUs.  Attendance is limited to 20 people

 >> Learn More
 >> Download Flyer and Registration Form