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PIHRE Explorer,
January 1997

 

Fellowship Informational Session: January 23, 1997

YOU, as a teacher, lawyer, or community representative are invited to apply for a 1997 Fellowship. Fellowships can take place any time between April 1997 and March 1, 1998. Approximately 10 Fellowships will awarded from funding provided by the Otto Bremer Foundation and the Musser Family Fund to participants from Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities.

The Fellowship Sub-Committee invites you to attend an Informational Session on January 23, 1997, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the U of M Law School, Room 471. Past Fellows and Sub-Committee members will be available to answer questions and provide tips on how to fill out the application, write a grant proposal, and develop budgets for living in foreign countries and other areas of the U.S.

If you have questions or would like more information or an application before January 23, please contact the Partners Program at (612) 626-0041. Applications for the 1997 Fellowship Program must be received by the Partners Program by 4:30 p.m. on March 3, 1997.


INDEX PAGE

Fellowship Informational Session............... 1

Fellowship Experiences............................... 1

Community Action! Projects....................... 2

Curricula/Resources ................................... 3

Take a Look at a Book!............................... 3

Lesson Plan.................................................. 3

Human Rights Course.................................. 4

Human Rights Speakers Bureau ................ 4

Human Rights Education: International

Opportunities ................................................. 4

From the Editor ............................................. 4

Human Rights Events Calendar.................... 5

1996-1997 Program Dates............................ 6

Barbara Frey at the White House.................. 6


Fellowship Experiences

Juliana Pegues
1996 Fellow
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
San Francisco, CA

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. In the last decade, the increase in the number of female prisoners was approximately twice the rate of males. This is not due to more serious criminal behavior by women but because of punitive and mandatory sentencing laws for nonviolent crimes. Services and programs for women in a system designed for men have been unable to accommodate this rapidly increasing population. Women prisoners spend on average 17 hours a day in their cells with one hour outside for exercise. They are less likely than male prisoners to receive visits from their children; many women prisoners are single mothers and as a result of their incarceration, their children are put into foster care. Women prisoners receive inadequate pre- and post-natal care. They are subjected to inadequate and even hostile HIV status and AIDS care and suffer from abject prison conditions and harassment by the prison guards.

In April 1995, women prisoners confined in California state prisons filed a federal class action lawsuit, Shumate v Wilson, in U.S. District Court. The suit charges that the prisons’ dramatically deficient medical care for the women confined there, including chronically and terminally ill women, has caused needless pain and suffering and threatened their health and lives. About 6,000 women are currently covered by the suit.

As a Partners in Human Rights Fellow, I worked on the human rights abuses of women prisoners in California this past summer. I worked at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, one of the public interest law firms representing the women prisoners in the suit. I also worked with the California Coalition for Women prisoners, a grassroots organization which seeks to publicize the lawsuit, increase awareness of the plight of women in prison, and develop public support for women prisoners and their families.

I went into California state prisons and conducted interviews with women prisoners concerning their medical issues. I saw heart-wrenching cases of women suffering from AIDS dementia, women whose T-cell counts were so low that they could barely stand or walk. I talked with women who had been denied medical attention for their conditions, such as sickle cell anemia, grand mal seizures, spina bifida, and tuberculosis. I also met women whose emotional and physical health had been seriously jeopardized due to such things as sexual harassment and physical beatings by prison guards. Although it was hard each time to walk away past two rows of razor wire and an electrified fence while the women remained inside, their strength and courage will stay with me for quite some time.

For more information about the lawsuit, contact the California Coalition for Women Prisoners, 100 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102, (415) 255-7036, ext. 4.

Ed Rice
1996 Fellow
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
Mexico Project
Minneapolis, MN and Chiapas, Mexico

This past summer I was fortunate to receive a Partners in Human Rights Education fellowship to work on the Mexico Project at the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. My work on Project mainly focused on assisting the Project Director, Cliff Rhode, to complete the research for a comprehensive report on human rights in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

The Project maintains contact with dozens of Mexican NGOs and receives continuous updates on human rights related happenings throughout Mexico. Maintaining a connection between human rights organizations is an important asset in the struggle to defend human rights, both as a means of disseminating information and as a tool for action. In addition to working to pressure the Mexican Government to remedy past violations, the reports published by the Mexico Project bring international attention to the current human rights situation in Mexico which is essential in moving the government towards compliance with its obligations under international law. The corrective actions the government says it is taking often are far from accurate, and when accurate, they are far from adequate.

In late July, I accompanied Cliffe on the final fact finding mission for the report on Oaxaca. During this intense survey, we meet with Mexican non-governmental organizations, witnesses and victims of human rights violations, and relevant government officials. Oaxaca faces a wide variety of human rights problems. Serious land feuds result from a combination of the indigenous population and repeated government agrarian reform and land redistribution without respect for the existing boundaries. In Oaxaca City, Padre Ubi, a young priest and human rights activist, arranged for Cliff and me to travel to the town of Amoltepec which is the sight of one of the longest running and bloodiest land feuds. A land shortage combined with a cultural problem between different indigenous groups in the neighboring towns has led to dozens of deaths. The government is reluctant to get involved and, when it does so, acts either ineffectively or aligns itself with one side. The government’s unwillingness or inability to address the situation is causing the people to take the law into their own hands. Outstanding arrest warrants remain unexecuted.

In addition to the government’s seemingly indifferent attitude with regard to executing warrants and upholding the law in general, the police often arbitrarily detain and imprison people on little or fabricated evidence. I heard many cases of people who had been wrongfully arrested or had suffered excessive brutality in police custody. In a particularly disturbing case, a man was arrested for allegedly knowing who had committed a murder. While in police custody, he was threatened at gunpoint by both the police and the victim’s widow. The police had given the widow a gun in hopes that she could get the man to confess. After the man repeatedly asserted that he did not know who the killer was, the police proceeded to beat him with their rifles to the point where he urinated blood. He was released and told that if he did not return with the information within a week’s time, then his whole family would be killed. His complaint, denouncing the incidents, was merely forwarded to the police.

For further information on the situation in Oaxaca or for other reports on Mexico, contact Cliff Rhode at the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, (612) 341-3302.


Deadline for Fellowship Applications

March 3, 1997


Community Action! Projects

You ought to be in pictures. . .

. . . Or, even better, on video. Many of the Partners Program teams are now planning Community Action! Projects. These projects may take the form of educating other students, making posters, t-shirts, visiting local food shelves, or creating plays and musical productions. Whatever, you have decided to do, please capture it on video and then send us a copy! If you do not have the equipment for filming a video, then Glen Lake School students will come to you.

The sixth graders in Sandy Falkman’s class at Glen Lake School are making a video of the Community Action! Projects being done in Minnesota. By the end of the school year, they hope to have numerous projects on film in which your students have participated. This video can then be used as part of the training of new team members.

For more information and inclusion in this project, please call Sandy Falkman at Glen Lake School, (612) 988-5178, or the Partners Program, (612) 626-0041.


Curricula/Resources

One World, One Earth. This book is based on the premise that we must expand education to include the 4th "R": (Social) Responsibility. Chapters include ideas to raise consciousness, to spark discussions, and to build community. Elementary level. $14.95. Available at St. Martin’s Table, 2001 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 339-3920.**

Uprooted Refugees in the United States. This resource curriculum teaches the history of refugees in the U.S., international legal standards and practices, and current refugee issues. It leads students to investigate their own communities and encourages community service. High school level. David Donohue and Nancy Flowers. $15.95. Available at St. Martin’s Table, 2001 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 339-3920.**


Take A Look at A Book!

Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children. An excellent resource for classroom teachers and librarians, this book includes articles, stories, poetry, and reviews of books about Native Americans. It also contains one of the best Native American bibliographies for children’s literature. Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin, editors. $24.95. Available at St. Martin’s Table, 2001 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 339-3920.**

Amelia’s Road. Amelia hates roads. Roads take her to fields where her family labors, to schools where no one knows her name, and to unfamiliar cabins where she must live. Still Amelia finds a way to create a home for herself. Linda Jacobs Altmann. 1993. $5.95. Available at the Resource Center of the Americas, 317 Seventeenth Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-2077, (612) 627-9445.


Lesson Plan

"The Rights of the Child"
Community of Peace Academy Charter School
Kindergarten
St. Paul, Minnesota
Beth Getchell, Teacher
Melissa Weldon, Lawyer/Law Student
Susan Nicolai, Community Representative

Objective: The learner will generate and discuss ideas about what a person needs to live.

Materials: Time: 45 minutes

Large sheets of paper

Markers

Mancala games **(directions to make and play Mancala)

Lesson:

1. Students divide into preselected groups and walk to three appointed areas in the room.

2. The teacher, lawyer, and community representative get to know the children in their group. Each person shares their name and tells about themselves. (5 minutes)

3. Explain to the children what a "need" is. Ask the students, "What do you need to live and be happy?" Give the students time to think and then discuss the replies. On a big sheet of paper, record the ideas that your group comes up with. Student can help by drawing pictures and the adult can write key words to label the pictures. (10 minutes)

4. Return to the group setting. Students present their ideas to the other groups. Hang the papers in the room. (15 minutes)

5. Discuss that children have rights because they need lots of things to live and be happy. Point out a few things from the lists that the groups made. Tell the children that they are going to work with the human rights education friends to learn more about the rights of children all over the world. Point out that one right that children have is the right to play.

6. Break up into groups and return to areas in the room to learn how to play the African game Mancala.

To make a Mancala game:

Take a 12-egg styrofoam carton and cut the top off. Cut the top into two pieces. Take the bottom of the carton and color code each side of six egg sections or "pockets." Place each top half (Mancala) at each end of the carton. Place three beans or stones in each pocket.

To play Mancala:

Special rules:

Each player chooses a Mancala. Players move stones only counter-clockwise (from left to right) around the game board which includes the 12 pockets and 2 Mancalas. If player A drops the last stone in an empty pocket, then A takes that stone and all the stones in the pocket across from that pocket and drops them in A’s Mancala. If A drops the last stone in A’s Mancala, then A gets another turn.

The Game:

Place the egg carton with the Mancalas between two players who are facing each other so that one Mancala is to the right and one is to the left of each person. The first person, A, chooses any pocket on his or her side of the game board, such as pocket #3. Then A picks up the stones in pocket #3 drops one stone in each pocket, #4, #5, and #6. Player B then chooses a pocket, such as pocket #4. B picks up the stones and drops one stone in each pocket, #5, #6, and B’s Mancala. Each player picks up all the stones in the chosen pocket and drops one stone in as many subsequent pockets as there are stones.

The game ends when one side (row of six pockets) is empty. The other player then takes the stones in his or her row of pockets and moves them to his or her Mancala. The player with the most stones wins the game.

Notes: This game originated in Egypt. It can be played in the sand. The board game is available for purchase at game stores.


Human Rights Course

"The Migrant Experience in Minnesota"
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus
Winter Quarter 1997
Topics in Chicano Studies 5920/Human Ecology 5130

Learn about the work and lives of the 15-20,000 migrant farm workers who travel to harvest Minnesota crops each year. Examine their experiences from such disciplines as history, public policy, education, public health, and agricultural economics through readings, speakers, research projects, and class discussions. The course is open to U of M juniors, seniors, graduates, and CEE students. 4 credits. Tuesdays, 4 -7 p.m. FFI, (612) 625-6389.


Human Rights Speakers Bureau

The Human Rights Committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association is pleased to announce the availability of speakers on the subject of domestic abuse as a human rights violation. In addition, curriculum is available through the Partners Program and includes a 50 minute video of the play, "House Rules," and activities such as analyzing media images of women and exploring cultural views of domestic abuse. The recommended age level is junior or senior high school. To schedule a speaker and to inquire about the curriculum, contact the Partners Program, (612) 626-0041.


Human Rights Education International Opportunities

Human Rights & Social Change in Mexico
Travel/Study Seminar
February 22 - March 1, 1997

Spend four days in Chiapas and three days in Mexico City exploring issues of indigenous rights, state and national indigenous policies, violence against women, cultural rights, racial discrimination, corruption and impunity, roots of the Zapatista uprising, land tenure and self-determination. Special attention will be given to examination of Mexico’s international human rights obligations in Chiapas and throughout Mexico. The cost is $1,695 which includes program, room and board, and round-trip airfare from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Translation for Spanish and English will be provided. Sponsored by the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and the Center for Global Education.

Human Rights Travel/Study Seminar to El Salvador
June 1-9, 1997

This seminar will offer you the opportunity to engage in the study of human rights, grounded in international law, in a country with a long history of human rights abuses. You will review selected international treaties, analyze the political problems of implementing and enforcing human rights law, and experience the relevance of human rights law to politics, culture, economics, and the environment. Cost to be determined. Sponsored by St. Mary’s School of Law, San Antonio, Texas.

For more information on either seminar, please contact the Center for Global Education, Augsburg College, 2211 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454, (612) 330-1159, fax: (612) 330-1695, e-mail: globaled@augsburg.edu.


From the Editor....

It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since the idea for The Explorer came to life. It has proven to be a tool used by team members and volunteers and a means to recognize the talents and efforts of the many who strive to educate the young Minnesotans and others around the world about fundamental human rights and responsibilities.

Beginning with the next issue, a new editor will take over and work with you to produce The Explorer. I am leaving the Partners Program as staff and will be devoting even more time to working with political asylum applicants as recent changes in the world of immigration law continue to be implemented. Thanks for your support and best wishes as you continue your efforts to improve the world around you through human rights education and activities!

Maria Baldini-Potermin


Human Rights EventsCalendar

Note: Please submit any activities that your students and/or school are involved in and that are open to the public. FFI means contact for further information.

January 1997

4 Salvadoran Health Care After the War. Dr. Lanny Smith, a U.S. physician who has taught at the University of San Salvador for four years, leads medical student to Morazan and other rural areas to work on public health. He will share his insights on health care and other realities in post-war El Salvador. 10:30 a.m. - 12. Resource Center of the Americas, 317 Seventeenth Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-2077, (612) 627-9445.

11 New Welfare Laws and Minnesota Immigrants. Martha Eaves, supervising attorney for Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, will present the implications of the new legislation and discuss its impact on Minnesota migrant workers, immigrants, and the broader community. She will also suggest ways that concerned people can respond. 10:30 a.m. - 12. Resource Center of the Americas, 317 Seventeenth Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-2077, (612) 627-9445.

11 Immigration Law Seminar. Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights will hold a seminar on the new federal immigration law, deportation, welfare "reform," judicial review, changes affecting refugees and asylees, and prospects for the 105th Congress. 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. U of M Law School, 229 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. FFI/RSVP by January 6 to the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, (612) 713-8480.

14 Peace Breakfast. A breakfast gathering of those working for peace and justice in the Twin Cities to network and share stories and support for each other’s work will be held at St. Martin’s Table, 2001 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 339-3920. FFI, Friends for a Non-Violent World, (612) 321-9787.

17-19 What Can You Do About Violence? Attend the Alternatives to Violence Project Workshop at Falcon Height United Church of Christ. This workshop of games, discussions, and role-plays provides people with proactive ways to promote and use nonviolence in our everyday lives. FFI and to register, Friends for a Non-Violent World, (612) 321-9787.

18 School of the Assassins. The past year has been a watershed in efforts to expose the School of the Americas, a U.S. Army academy at Fort Benning, Georgia, that has trained human rights violators across Latin America. The new video, Inside the School of the Assassins, will be screened and Father Roy Bourgeois will speak. Father Bourgeois is a Maryknoll priest who was recently released from Atlanta Federal Prison after serving a six-month sentence for nonviolently protesting at the school. 10:30 a.m. - 12. Resource Center of the Americas, 317 Seventeenth Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-2077, (612) 627-9445.

25 The Brutality of Colombia. Colombia is the most violent country in the western hemisphere. Dick Bancroft attended a November meeting of international human rights advocates in Colombia. He will discuss the brutal realities and his impressions of Bogota. 10:30 a.m. - 12. Resource Center of the Americas, 317 Seventeenth Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-2077, (612) 627-9445.

1 Human Rights Enrichment Workshop. Sessions will address human rights topics including domestic violence, indigenous rights, and community action project development. 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Minneapolis Community College, 1501 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN. FFI, Partners in Human Rights Education, (612) 626-0041.

25 Friends for a Non-Violent World Annual Meeting. All who are interested in learning about the activities of this non-profit organization which promotes non-violence in the Twin Cities are welcome. 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Minneapolis Friends Meetinghouse, 4401 York Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. FFI, Friends for a Non-Violent World, (612) 321-9787.

26 An Evening with Margaret Randall. Margaret Randall, an activist, poet, feminist, teacher, and novelist, will speak on Women in Cuba and Nicaragua. 7:00 p.m. St. Stephens Church, 22nd Street and Clinton, Minneapolis, MN. $10/$7 student-low income. Benefit for the Midwest Institute for Social Transformation. FFI, MIST, (612) 874-7715.

February 1997

1 Chile and Free Trade. In November, Chile and Canada signed a free-trade agreement, marking the beginning of Chile’s entry into the free-trade block of major industrialized countries. Chilean anthropologist Juan Carlos Skewes who has taught in the U of M Department of Anthropology will share his insights. 10:30 a.m. - 12. Resource Center of the Americas, 317 Seventeenth Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-2077, (612) 627-9445.

11 Peace Breakfast. A breakfast gathering of those working for peace and justice in the Twin Cities to network and share stories and support for each other’s work will be held at St. Martin’s Table, 2001 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 339-3920. FFI, Friends for a Non-Violent World, (612) 321-9787.

12 Haiti: Women Organizing for Change. Joelle Vitiello teaches French at Macalaster College and recently returned from Haiti where she interviewed women’s organizations. April Knutson teaches French and Italian at the U of M and recently returned from a humanitarian trip to Haiti. They will present the current economic, political, and social realities of life in Haiti. 10:30 a.m. - 12. Resource Center of the Americas, 317 Seventeenth Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414-2077, (612) 627-9445.


Barbara Frey (and the Partners Program) at the White House

On December 10, 1996, Barbara Frey was one of six women honored at the White House on International Human Rights Day for their efforts to promote women’s rights. She has worked for 13 years to stop human rights violations across the world, including 11 years as the executive director of the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. In a private meeting of the honorees and the Clintons, Barb delivered 30 letters from her Partners Program fourth through six grade class at Expo Magnet School in St. Paul to President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Barb and the other women were honored at a formal ceremony.


1997 Partners Program Dates to Remember

January 21 Introductory Meeting and Working and Action Session. University of Minnesota Law School. 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

January 23 Fellowship Recruitment and Informational Meeting. University of Minnesota Law School, Room 471.

5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

January 30 Sharing and Enrichment Workshop. Grand Rapids. Location TBA. 4:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

February 1 Human Rights Enrichment Workshop. Minneapolis Community College. 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

March 3 Deadline for Applications for 1997 Fellowships. 4:30 p.m.

March 19 Sharing and Enrichment Workshop. St. Cloud, Minnesota. Court House. 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

May 16 Human Rights Fair.


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