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June 2018
A national network dedicated to building a culture of human rights.

Call for Nominations!

HRE USA invites nominations for the 2018 Edward O’Brien Human Rights Education Awards. These awards were established in memory of Ed O’Brien, pioneer human right educator and valued member of HRE USA who died  in 2015. Nominations may be for:
  • An individual who has made a significant contribution to human rights education in the United States;
  • An organization, institution, or program that has made an outstanding contribution to human rights education in the United States.
The award will be presented in December during the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in Chicago.

Deadline: July 1

>> Learn more
>> Download Nomination Form

Send inquiries and nominations to: Nancy Flowers


  HRE Award Nominations
  New Lesson in Curriculum Guide
  Steering Committee Nominations
  Flowers Fund Grants


  End Separation of Families


  SPLC Who's Heritage Report
  Call for proposals - ICHRE
  Call for Nominations - AAAS Science & HR Coalition
  Diverse Democracy Grants


  Environmental Justice Resources
  Teaching for Black Lives
  Film, Human Rights, & Advocacy

New Lessons and UN Recognition of HRE USA Curriculum Guide 

Two new lessons have been added to the HRE USA Curriculum Integration Guide.  Jamie Warner, a middle school social studies teacher at Orange Avenue School in Cranford NJ, created the multi-lesson project Going Global—Investigating Issues of Interest and Importance and Semira Markos, a high school social studies teacher at Hunterdon Central Regional HS in Flemington NJ, created the lesson Human Rights in National Memory  Both teachers piloted their lessons after receiving expert feedback from HRE USA educators and her students. The lessons are available in Word and PDF formats for use by educators worldwide.

The Curriculum Integration Guide project was recently contacted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, who requested permission to place 9 lessons of the 15 currently on the HRE USA website on their agency website for use by educators around the world.  This UN agency website will go live in mid-June 2018, and authors of the lessons have expressed their gratitude at having their lessons recognized by an office of the United Nations.

Phase four of the Curriculum Integration Guide project will commence this summer.  Interested educators who wish to develop lessons focusing on human rights education and who are able to have their lessons piloted with students during the 2018-19 school year, should contract Bill Fernekes for further information about details and timelines.

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! 

Deadline: Monday, June 25

>> Learn more about eligibility and requirements here
>> Nomination Form

For further inquiries, please contact Emily Farell

Flowers Fund Grants

The Flowers Fund for human rights education is now accepting applications for their 2018 Grants.

Established in 2017 to honor HRE USA founding member Nancy Flowers, the Fund makes grants up to $1000 in support of innovation and mentorship in HRE. All applications should have direct relevance to human rights education in the United States.

Deadline: June 30

The Flowers Fund will consider applications in areas such as research in human rights education, travel to attend HRE conferences, encouragement of emerging leadership, and innovative projects that expand the scope and understanding of HRE and/or extend the audience for HRE. Grants will be made to individuals and organizations that are members of HRE USA and directly engaged in human rights education in the United States. 

>> Learn more and apply

End the Separation of Immigrant Families at the Border

The U.S. is in serious violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to the ACLU, up to 1000 children have been separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, some as young as one year old. The violations are a result of the Trump administration's new "zero tolerance" policy that has accelerated separations of children and their parents at the border. The policy, announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, directs authorities to prosecute all instances of illegal border crossings.

ON June 5, The United Nations human rights office called on the Trump administration Tuesday to "immediately halt" the practice, insisting there's "nothing normal about detaining children." Ravina Shamdasani , a spokeswoman for the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, scolded the United States over the hundreds of children removed from parents who were jailed for entering the country illegally. She said that border control appears to take precedence over child protection and care in the U.S.

ICE's largest family detention center, Karnes County Residential Center in Texas, run by contractor GEO Group, has a prison bus just for babies. Source
The United States is the only country in the world that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, she noted, but the practice of separating and detaining children breached its obligations under other international human rights conventions it has joined.

"The use of immigration detention and family separation as a deterrent runs counter to human rights standards and principles," Shamdasani said during a briefing in Geneva. "The child's best interest should always come first."

As Nicole Hemmer points out, this new US policy of separating immigrant children from their parents has chilling historical echoes. In the late 19th century, for instance, at a moment of particular anxiety about American national identity, the government intervened to separate immigrant and American-Indian children from their parents to mold them into a particular kind of citizen. Forced separation of families was also, of course, central to the American regime of slavery. In a system that allowed for hereditary enslavement, children were transformed into property at birth.  The difference, Nicole states, is that in the past "such policies [were] almost always rooted in misguided ideas of social uplift and national good. The new moral rot added by the Trump administration is that its policy is entirely punitive. Their vision of America is not assimilationist (an idea with its own problems) but exclusionary: making America too cruel for immigrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, to risk crossing the border."  

These are not the actions of a humane government. To separate children from parents is unconscionable unless the child is at risk of harm. It becomes even worse when the separation comes as the family is seeking asylum and asking for help and protection from the very people who then suddenly split them apart. This is just traumatizing the traumatized and it needs to stop.  

>> Learn more
>> See full statement from UN
>> Take Action To End the Separation of Immigrant Families

SPLC's Whose Heritage? Report: A Teaching Opportunity

Schools, monuments and statues across the country pay homage to the Confederacy. Educators can use a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center to help teach the history behind these public fixtures—and how they spread throughout the South and beyond.  The report, entitled "Whose Heritage?" offers data and context that should inform and supplement any lessons on the Civil War, its legacy and the through-line of white supremacist ideology in the United States. A timeline, for example, illustrates the spike in Confederate-dedicated monuments that occurs in tandem with civil rights advancements for black people, or during moments of intense racial strife throughout recent U.S. history. An interactive map points to the geographic locations of these public homages, with monuments and schools in Union states like New York, Pennsylvania and California begging the titular question: Whose heritage is this, really? And what purpose were these symbols of the Confederacy meant to serve?

The data and brief history lessons in this report help answer these questions and counter Lost Cause myths—myths commonly held by, and passed down to, students. As calls to remove or rename symbols of the Confederacy continue to stir controversy, educators can resist the urge to avoid this topic and, instead, teach the hard history and motivation behind these monuments and public symbols. This report supplies a foundation for learning and fodder for lessons. 

>> Learn more

Call for Paper and Workshops!  9th International Conference on Human Rights Education 

The 9th International Conferences on Human Rights Education (ICHRE) is calling for paper and workshop proposals. Proposals must relate to one or more of the conference themes and must help to achieve the conference goals and objectives

The theme for this year is, "Unleashing the Full Potential of Civil Society."  The conference will be held November 26-29, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. The Conference is expected to be attended by some 400 Australia and international HRE experts, practitioners, decision makers and thought leaders from government, civil society, academia and the private sector.

The 9th ICHRE will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the education-oriented Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. It will cover the range of human rights education (HRE) issues such as national and international curricula, pedagogy and best practices, including in the context of discrimination faced by the First Nations, women, persons with disabilities, the LGBTIQ communities and those of refugee and minority cultural and religious backgrounds. 

Proposal Deadline: July 16

>> Conference information and registration  
>> Submit a proposal

Call for nominations: AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition

The Science and Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is calling for nominations from human rights practitioners interested in serving on the Coalition Steering Committee.

Deadline: June 20

The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition is a network of scientific, engineering and health associations and professional societies devoted to facilitating communication and partnerships on human rights within and across scientific communities, and between these and human rights communities. 

The Steering Committee provides input into the activities of the Coalition, establishes the agenda for Coalition meetings, and contributes to the membership and outreach goals of the Coalition. To strengthen the ‘bridging’ functions of the Coalition, serving on the Coalition Steering Committee are two human rights experts, each of whom serves a three-year term. These experts are expected to bring the perspective of the human rights community to the Coalition’s activities, and to facilitate the exchange of information and resources across the human rights and scientific communities.

Whether staff of a human rights organization, an academic with human rights research and teaching experience or an advocate, the ideal candidates address the intersections of science and human rights in their work and/or are committed to engaging the scientific, engineering and health communities in human rights research, awareness raising and advocacy. All Steering Committee members serve as volunteers. They are expected to participate in bi-monthly meetings and provide input and advice to the Coalition and its Secretariat on an ad hoc basis. They are also encouraged to attend Coalition meetings held in Washington, DC each year. The Steering Committee meets bi-monthly, with a call-in option for members outside the Washington, DC area.

To apply, please send a CV and a one paragraph statement of interest by June 20 to Jessica Wyndham at

>> Learn more

Diverse Democracy Grants

Through their Diverse Democracy Grants, Teaching Tolerance is awarding $500 to $10,000 to educators for projects that will help students become lifelong voters and empowered voting advocates in their communities.

Grant Deadline: August 31

>> Learn more

New Resources to Teach for Environmental Justice

At the heart of our environmental crisis is the idea that nature is a thing to be used for profit. That's the bad news. The good news is that social movements across the world are challenging this profit-first orientation, and proposing alternatives. And educators are a part of these movements.

The Zinn Education Project (ZEP) has posted five teaching articles that grew out of a writing retreat sponsored by ZEP and This Changes Everything, the project launched by Naomi Klein's brilliant book. These articles include role plays, stories of activism and resistance, and ideas for how to implement concepts from This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate in our classrooms.

>> Learn more

Teaching for Black Lives

New from Rethinking Schools is Teaching for Black Lives, a classroom resource grown directly out of the movement for Black lives. Edited by Dyan Watson, Jesse Hagopian, and Wayne Au, this book provides articles and lessons that demonstrate how teachers can connect curriculum to young people's lives. Teaching for Black Lives highlights the hope and beauty of student activism and collective action.

Opel Tometi, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter and executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration states, "this book is not just for teachers in the classroom, but also for those of us who care about making Black lives matter in the community.  It should be required reading for all who care about the future of black youth."

>> Learn more and purchase

Cinema Human Rights and Advocacy – Summer School


When: August 27 - September 5, 2018
Where: Venice, Italy
Cost: € 1700,00

Registration Deadline: June 20

 EIUC is glad to announce the 13th edition of the Summer School in Cinema Human Rights and Advocacy, a training initiative developed by EIUC and CHRA dedicated to graduates, professionals of the human rights, media, NGO and advocacy sector. Anyone who uses or is interested in using audio-visual media as a tool for promoting social change is encouraged to apply to the Summer School. The 10-day intense training is aimed at young professionals wishing to broaden their understanding on the connections between human rights, films, digital media and video advocacy, to share ideas and foster participatory and critical thinking on urgent human rights issues, debate with experts and filmmakers from all over the world during the 75th Venice international Film Festival and learn how to use films as a tool for social and cultural change. The School selects a maximum of 30 participants.

>> Learn more and apply

Human Rights Educators USA is a national network that strives to promote human dignity, justice, and peace by cultivating an expansive, vibrant base of support for Human Rights Education in the United States.   >> Learn more 
HRE USA is a project of the Center for Transformative Action
Copyright © 2018 Human Rights Educators USA, All rights reserved.

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