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

Welcome New Reps for Connecticut! 

HRE USA is excited to welcome Chris Buckley and Jake Skrzypiec as the new Regional Representative for HRE USA in Connecticut!  

Chris Buckley. Chris has been teaching since 2001, most recently as a faculty member at Brookfield High School in Brookfield, Connecticut. Chris serves as a Lead Educator in the Speak Truth to Power program sponsored by RFK Human Rights and also serves on the steering committee for the Connecticut Human Rights Partnership. Since 2016, Chris has been an instructor for the Introduction to Human Rights course offered by the University of Connecticut’s Early College Experience program. Chris has presented on human rights education at the National Council for Social Studies in Boston, Washington D.C., New Orleans, and Chicago.

Jake Skrzypiec. Jake is a social studies educator in Manchester, CT. He developed Manchester High School's Human Rights class, a required course for all students, and is an Early College Experience instructor through the University of Connecticut. He also serves as secretary of the CT Human Rights Partnership, a non-profit working to advance human rights education and advocacy in the state of Connecticut. He is a frequent partner with the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, and serves as a teacher fellow this year, working on elevating youth voice & human rights advocacy. Jake is excited to join and serve within the talented ranks of many educators & advocates in HRE USA and hopes to help Connecticut teachers connect with the incredible human rights work going on on a national level. 

>> Learn about HRE USA’s Regional Chapters


  New Connecticut Reps


  Rebuild U.S. Schools


• Doing Race Talk with Teachers


• Teach MLK
  Teaching About The Wars
  MOOC on the United Nations


   "Tell the World" Art Contest
   VOW Job Opportunities 
   NCSS - Call for Proposals


  Climate Solutions Webinar
  UPR Webinar
  Creating Balance in an Unjust World - STEM  Conference
  SNCC Conference
  Summer Institute - Civil Rights
  American History Conference

Rebuild America's Schools

It’s been nearly a year since NEA President Lily Eskelsen García helped call attention to the pressing need to modernize public schools and the Rebuild America’s Schools Act (S. 266/H.R. 865) passed out of the House Education and Labor Committee. The average public school building is 44 years old. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the condition of America’s 100,000 public school buildings an overall grade of D+.  

Build Schools Not Walls
To make matters worse, the Trump Administration and his Department of Defense are canceling nearly a half-a-billion-dollars’ worth of much-needed projects that would build schools and daycares at military bases here and abroad—all to fund his wall at the southern border. 

Only Congress—after hearing from you!— can apply the kind of pressure to stop the reappropriation of funds.

>> Take Action Now

Doing Race Talk with Teachers

By Dyan Watson, Winter Rethinking Schools Magazine, Volume 34, No.2

Urban kids don’t want to learn as much as the other students in class,” Josh stated in a frustrated voice.

“I don’t understand,” I said. “You teach in a school that only accepts the neighborhood kids. Who . . . who are the urban kids?”

Josh was a white teacher candidate at my university who did his student teaching in a school where all of the students were neighborhood kids in the middle of a small city. Racially, the students are diverse — nearly half are white and about 40 percent are Latino, with the rest of the student population being Asian American, African American, and Native American.

Just who are the “urban kids” in his class who don’t want to learn as much as “the other” students? It took some probing, but finally Josh admitted that the urban kids in his classroom were the kids of color, specifically, the Black and Latino children. Josh is not alone in characterizing his classroom as a mix of children, both urban and suburban. I hear teachers use this type of language all the time. Impossible, right? If a student is suburban, doesn’t that mean she resides in or is schooled in a small, residential town on the periphery of a large one? Isn’t that the definition of suburban? Not anymore. We have come to a place where these terms, urban and suburban, are cultural constructs where both are defined primarily by race — and to a lesser extent, class — and the perceived behaviors, beliefs, and values associated with each.

By using urban, Josh was allowed to freely talk about race without race words, thus enabling him to say things he might not say if he used white or Black, for example. This is a linguistic move employed by educators all over the nation. However, I’ve especially seen it in my own practice and classroom. But why? Why use code words for race? It is because teachers often have stereotyped views of children and their families, and how these play out in schools. Too many educators tend to think that Black and Latino students and families don’t value education as much as middle-class white students and families. Oh, it’s not their fault, some of my white students say. They live in crime-ridden neighborhoods, they don’t have familial role models, they are poor. . . . The list goes on. The problem with this — besides it not being true — is that the thoughts we have about African, Latino, Asian, Native, and European American children and their families influence how we think of teaching them. And in my field, that is especially problematic.

>> Read full Article
>> See entire Rethinking Schools Winter Magazine: "Teaching the Largest Civil Rights Protest You've Never Heard Of"

Teaching the Radical Truth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

From Teaching Tolerance

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., born January 15, 1929, became the most well-known leader of the modern civil rights movement. But the truth of King’s legacy is often whitewashed and sanitized. On his birthday, MLK Day and year-round, use these resources put together by Teaching Tolerance to provide students with a more complete, radical context of King’s fight for justice—and discuss how his work still creates ripples today.

>> See Teaching Tolerance MLK Resources

Teaching About Iran, Iraq, and U.S. Military Involvement in the Middle East

In response to the call from teachers for better resources on how to teach about the historical context of the United States' military involvement in the Middle East and how that relates to current events, Rethinking Schools is offering FREE access to their teaching guide, "Teaching About Wars," that 

Teaching About the Wars breaks the curricular silence on the U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Even though the United States has been at war continuously since just after 9/11, sometimes it seems that our schools have forgotten.

Although the articles in Teaching About the Wars grow out of the “war on terrorism” following the September 11 attacks, the war in Afghanistan, and then the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the teaching strategies, the history, and many of the resources highlighted in the volume are still relevant today.

>> Download FREE Teaching Guide

FREE MOOC - Global Diplomacy: the UN in the World

The University of London and SOAS University of London are launching a free massive open online course about the United Nations. This seven-week course requires a weekly commitment of three hours and is taught entirely in English.

During the course, you will explore the role of core UN bodies such as the UN Security Council and learn about its structure, operations and powers. The course will encourage you to examine the fundamental issues that determine the existence of the UN Security Council, including the status of the permanent members, its ability to carry out its function, and the prospects for reform.

An entire week of the course is dedicated to human rights at the UN. You will learn about the most important documents and declarations that govern the global human rights landscape and mechanisms and discover how they are applied.

In the final weeks of the course, you will learn how UN Agencies are involved in humanitarian work and how the UN responds to humanitarian crises and conflict.

>> Learn more and enroll

"Tell the World" Human Rights Art Competition #TellTheWorld

The US Human Rights Network Coordinating Center & UPR Task Force are hosting a creative visual arts competition -- #TellTheWorld

The theme of the #TellTheWorld competition is human rights and community activism. 

Winning artwork will be featured in the US Human Rights Network annual human rights report card, to be released in early spring 2020, as well as on USHRN social media channels. 

All submitted artwork will be included in a video compilation which we will present at key consultations and meetings with embassies and permanent missions as part of our ongoing advocacy around the upcoming Universal Periodic Review of the United States.

Deadline: January 21, 2020

>> Learn more and submit your artwork

Voice of Witness - Job Opportunities

Voice of Witness (VOW) is an award-winning, San Francisco-based nonprofit that has been advancing human rights by amplifying unheard voices for over ten years.  Their education program serves over 20,000 people annually, and they provide oral history training to other nonprofits as well as to educators, advocates, writers, and journalists.

Position: Curriculum Specialist: Voices from indigenous North America

VOW is seeking a Curriculum Specialist to collaborate with VOW education staff on developing, writing, and creating curriculum for our upcoming book: How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America.

How We Go Home shares contemporary Indigenous stories in the long and ongoing fight to protect Native land and life. This collection of twelve narratives are essential, firsthand accounts of the ongoing effects of displacement and settler colonialism.

This position can be fulfilled remotely, with regular phone and/or video call meetings with VOW education staff. If you have experience creating curriculum, have a passion for storytelling, and would like to help this dynamic, award-winning organization support more public schools and communities around the country, please consider joining the small, dedicated VOW team.

>> Learn more and apply

Position: Reproductive Justice Book Fellowship

In partnership with the Brigid AllianceWe Testify, and Access Reproductive Care-Southeast (ARC-Southeast), Voice of Witness (VOW) is inviting writers, journalists, and researchers with a proven track record in reproductive justice to submit proposals for the following oral history book fellowship. Proposals are due by Friday, February 28, 2020.

VOW is accepting submissions that offer a unique take on the widely covered issue of abortion access in the United States, with the aim of exposing the stigma and myths surrounding abortion care and of highlighting the effects of restrictive abortion access on our most marginalized, vulnerable communities. We are particularly interested in hearing stories from a diversity of narrators to support a humanized and holistic approach to the subject.

The resulting manuscript will be published as a trade title by Haymarket Books as part of the Voice of Witness book series. The book will also have accompanying curricula (free and downloadable) developed by the VOW education program in partnership with reproductive rights education experts. 

>> Learn more and apply

NCSS Call for Proposals!

NCSS is now accepting proposals to present at its 100th Anniversary Session to be held in Washington, D.C, December 4-6, 2020.  You may also submit a proposal for the co-located National Law-Related Education Conference (sponsored by the American Bar Association) and the National Council for Geographic Education. 

The NCSS Annual Conference is the largest gathering of K-12 social studies classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, district and state social studies supervisors, international educators, and social studies discipline leaders. NCSS will be joined by the National Council for Geographic Education and the American Bar Association's Division for Public Education all under one roof!” 2020 is the 100th Anniversary of the founding of NCSS. By happy coincidence, 2020 is also the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations! 

Interdisciplinary proposals that include interactive sessions, encourage critical inquiry, demonstrate informed action, and emphasize are particularly encouraged.  Check out the NCSS Proposal Submission Guide for further information. 

Deadline: February 10, 2020

>> Submit Proposal

Climate Solutions Webinar Series

When: January 16, May 14, September 10
Time: 12 pm CST
Where: Webinar

Cost: FREE

Climate Generation is hosting a webinar series to help you learn how to use your voice, choice, and vote to make a difference in the climate movement.

January 16th, 12-1p.m. CST
Learn about the power of personal narrative when talking about climate change and walk through a series of prompts to discover your own personal climate change story.

May 14th, 12-1p.m. CST
Our individual choices matter. Learn more about how to make choices that are good for the climate and how to scale up your actions for a larger impact.

September 10th, 12-1p.m. CST
The 2020 political elections will be critical for the fate of the climate. Learn more about how to be a climate-friendly voter and how you can support local get-out-the-vote efforts in your community.


>> Learn more and register

UPR Webinar with USHRN

When: Friday, January 17, 2020
Time: 2 pm EST
Where: Zoom Webinar

Cost: FREE

Ahead of the consultations in NYC and Washington, D.C., join Mary Gerisch and Josh Cooper, UPR Task Force Co-chairs, and special guest Stephanie Suzanne Franklin, Founder, President, and CEO of the Franklin Law Group, as they discuss next steps in domestic advocacy ahead of the Universal Periodic Review of the United States.  Ms. Franklin has over 24 years of experience in social justice advocacy.  One of her most significant accomplishments has been advocating before the UN for the human right to healthy development and self-determination for African-American Girls in foster care. 

This webinar is the ninth webinar since July in a series on the Universal Periodic Review. Please learn more and access resources from the last eight webinars at

If you have any questions regarding the Webinar Wednesdays series or the Universal Periodic Review, please contact Interim Executive Director Salimah Hankins and/or Chief of Strategy and Programming Whitney Yang: +

>> Learn more and register

Creating Balance in an Unjust World Conference

When: January 17-19, 2020
Where: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education Honolulu, HI

Cost: $25-$250 sliding scale

The Creating Balance in an Unjust World on STEM Education and Social Justice (formerly focused on mathematics education and now more broadly on STEM education) has been committed to supporting social justice educators since their first conference in 2007. The conference is built on the belief that mathematics literacy is a human right and seeks ways to make mathematics meaningful, relevant, and a tool to analyze and change the world.

The 2020 Conference Theme: Akeakamai: Critical Re-envisioning of STEM Education Through the Lens of Culture and Place. Join educators, parents, students, activists, and community members to explore the connections between STEM education and social justice.

>> Learn more and register

SNCC 60th Anniversary Conference

When: April 16-19, 2020
Where: Washington, DC

Cost: $100-$250

Sixty years ago, young activists gathered at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina to begin planning their generation’s obligation to continue a struggle begun long before they were born: the Freedom and Empowerment of Black people. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was born out of this gathering. SNCC was then the only youth-led national civil rights organization. Now, at this important time in our history, we invite you to join us on April 16 -19, 2020 as we gather in Washington, DC to carry this struggle forward.

>> Learn more and register

2020 NEH Summer Institute on the Grassroots Perspectives of the Civil Rights Movement

When: July 6-24, 2020
Where: Duke University, Durham, NC

Cost: Free - participants receive a $2700 stipend


This NEH summer institute was designed by a collaborative team of scholars, veterans, and educators from Duke, the SNCC Legacy Project, and Teaching for Change.

Participants (classroom teachers in grades 7-12) will learn the bottom-up history of the Civil Rights Movement and receive resources and strategies to bring it home to their students. They will have the unique opportunity to learn from the people who made the civil rights movement happen, and from the leading scholars of the era.

The following narratives will serve as the focus of the institute.

  • The Civil Rights Movement was a primary force for the expansion of democracy for all.
  • The Movement was based on the work of thousands of local “ordinary” people who both organized and sustained it.
  • Women and youth were a fundamental part of the leadership and the troops of the Movement.
  • The tradition of protest grew out of a long history of activism and resistance in the Black community.
  • And more.

>> Learn more and apply

Organization of American Historians Conference on American History


When: April 2-5, 2020
Where: Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Rd. NW, Washington, D.C.

Cost: $10-$240 sliding scale (early-bird deadline: March 25)

For centuries now, questions of “equality” and “inequality” have informed American politics and culture, and also appeared repeatedly in the histories we write, exhibit, and teach. How have the meanings of equality and inequality changed over time? The 2020 Organization of American Historians (OAH) Annual Meeting will address the theme of (In)Equalities in our past and present. 

>> Learn more and register

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 © 2020 Human Rights Educators USA, All rights reserved.

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