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PIHRE Explorer,
1995-1996, Issue #6

 

April Team Tip

The Human Rights Fair and spring are just around the corner! Make plans with your students, their parents, and team members to be at Como Park Pavilion on May 105th.
Plan an end of the year celebration within your school. Invite members of the community to participate.
Assist the students to finish their community action project. Let the Partners Project know what you have done!


Take A Look at A Book!

Peace Law Almanac. This collection contains the Charter of the United Nations, Nuremberg Principles, Genocide Convention, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the new South African Constitution, excerpts from U.S. Army Field Manual, "United States v. Lt. Calley," "Spock v. United States," "United States v. Oliver North," and other materials. Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, 1995. Available from Hunter House Inc. Publishers, PO Box 2914, Alameda, CA 94501, (800) 266-5592.


Curricula/Resources

The Energy of a Nation: Immigrants in America.

Video: (11 Minutes) Brings historical, factual, and personal perspectives to immigration issues and features compelling stories of five immigrants.

Fact Sheets: Address the impact of immigrants on the U.S. economy, labor market, and society.

Study Guide: Uses easy-to-read charts, tables, graphs, and maps to convey who comes to the United States, why they come, the process by which they are allowed in, where they settle, their impact on the economy, and the "nuts and bolts" of U.S. immigration policy. Immigration is presented within a historical context and through first-hand accounts and role-playing activities.

Grade Level: Middle School, High School, adult.

Available from Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, The B.I.A.S. Project, 400 Second Avenue South, Suite 1050, Minneapolis, MN 55401-2408, (612) 341-3302.


Congratulations to the 1996
Partners in Human Rights Education Fellowship Recipients!

Judy Atrubin, Community Representative
The Adam Institute for Democracy and Peace
Jerusalem, Israel

Lucie Bendova, Community Representative
International Institute of Boston
Boston, Massachusetts

Greg Karpenko, Community Representative/Intern
Human Rights Center, Partners Project
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sherry Kempf, Teacher
World Friendship Center
Nagasaki, Japan

Charles Numrich, Community Representative/Trainer
Corrymeela Community
Belfast, Northern Ireland

Juliana Pegues, Community Representative
Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
San Francisco, California

Edward Rice, Community Representative
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
Minneapolis, Minnesota and Mexico City, Mexico

Johanna Ronnei, Staff Fellow
Human Rights Organization of Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal

Mary Shouvieller, Community Representative
Centro Legal
St. Paul, Minnesota

We wish you success in your fellowship experiences and look forward to hearing from you when you return!


Fellowship Experience in Mexico

John Tonsager, 1995 Fellow

There are men that fight one day and they are good
There are others that fight one year and they are better
There are those that fight many years and they are very good
But there are those that fight their whole life
These are the indispensable ones.
Berthold Brecht

Last summer I was able to work with people that have spent and will continue to spend their lives actively defending human rights in Chihuahua, Mexico. Through the funds granted to me by the Otto Bremer Foundation, I had an opportunity to work for Cosyddhac (Commission for Solidarity and Defense of Human Rights A.C.). As part of Cosyddhac, I was assigned to a task force designed to investigate and compile a report on the conditions of the indigenous prisoners incarcerated in Chihuahua. This experience enriched my life both personally and professionally. Personally, it was the first time that I have lived in a developing country. For me the most shocking difference was the economy. One hears stories of how valuable American dollars are; however, it is a bittersweet truth to find out. On one hand, I was glad that the amount of money I received for this fellowship would last two months. I felt chagrined, however, to see how hard some Mexican citizens worked for the little recompense they received. It seems that in Mexican society, living is much better defined as surviving.

Professionally, I was afforded the opportunity to work with a team for a common goal. The team included myself and two Mexican law students. Together we traveled to three separate prisons to perform our research. At each prison, our investigation was completed in three steps. First, the director of each prison was interviewed. After this interview, all of the prisoners were personally interviewed. The third step was a review of the prison infrastructure as well as all of the prisoner case files. The last step included interviews of the attending judge and public defenders at each of the prisons. After investigating the prisons, the final report was written. This report was divided into two sections. The first section solely related the findings of our investigation. The second section offered proposals aimed at bringing the inadequacies of the prisons closer to accordance with the Chihuahua penal code.

The final week of my trip was spent in press conferences and meetings with Mexican prison officials. It was our hope that, through public pressure and the release of our report, the prison officials would be forced to better the conditions of some of the prisons. The extent to which any of these has been bettered, I do not know. I can only hope that the necessary changes are being made.

To conclude, the fellowship in Chihuahua, Mexico meant a great deal to me both personally and professionally. I experienced being a part of a task force designed to enlist changes in the penal system of the state as well as the opportunity to live and adapt to a different culture. I would like to thank Cosyddhac for allowing me to join them in their lifelong struggle to protect human rights in Chihuahua. They are indispensable.


Summer Session Courses

The University of Minnesota will be offering two excellent courses this summer through the Summer Institute on International Studies. For details regarding application and registration procedures, costs, and credit, contact the Outreach Coordinator, Institute of International Studies, 214 Social Science Tower, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 624-9007.


Summer Volunteer Opportunities

1. Centro Legal
15 South 5th St., Suite 1134
Minneapolis, MN 55402

An intern will assist with immigration matters for Hispanic and low-income individuals. The intern must have Spanish language ability. FFI, Paula Duthoy at (612) 291-0110 or Luz Maria Frias at (612) 338-4503.

2. St. Martin's Table
2001 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454

Come and help us serve lunch! Volunteer as often as you like. Your tips will be donated to local and global hunger projects that you select. Nearly $2,000 each month is donated. FFI, Tammy at (612) 339-3920.

3. Peace Village
2001 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454

A volunteer will assist with a peace and justice focused, action-oriented, day camp for elementary aged children. This year's theme is Human Rights for Children. The sessions are June 17-27 and July 8-18. FFI (612) 341-0871.

4. Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
400 Second Avenue South, Suite 1050
Minneapolis, MN 55401-2408

A legal intern will assist with research and writing in the area of conflict prevention and human rights. The Conflict Prevention Project is developing a methodology to promote cooperation and collaboration between human rights advocates and conflict prevention actors. MN Advocates needs interns to work in its Minnesota and New York City offices. The intern in Minnesota will be responsible for research and writing projects about the methodology. The research will focus on early warning mechanisms, methods of monitoring, reporting, and advocacy in the context of conflict prevention. FFI, Barbara Frey at (612) 341-3302.

A Library and Information Science Intern will have the opportunity to assist Minnesota Advocates in the organization, development, and coordination of its resource library, which contains human rights curriculum, country files, nongovernmental organization newsletters, United Nations documents, and books. Minnesota Advocates also seeks expertise in the placement of its publications on the World Wide Web. FFI, Natalie Detert at (612) 341-3302.


Human Rights Events Calendar

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.

April 1996

19 Rich One, Poor One. A three-part drama about world hunger will be performed by fifteen children and youth from the Community of St. Martin. St. Martin's Table, 2001 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis. FFI (612) 339-3920.

May 1996

2 Dr. Jorge Fernandez, member of the Judicial Council of Mexico's Federal District, legal advisor for the CONAI mediating council, and legal advisor to Chiapas Bishop Samuel Ruiz, will be in the Twin Cities to discuss human rights and the current situation in Chiapas. FFI, Cliff Rohde at Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, (612) 341-3302.

7 Jennifer Harbury will discuss the torture and death of her husband Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, a commandante in the Guatemalan guerrilla forces, at the hands of a CIA paid Guatemalan Army Colonel, and about her struggle to uncover the truth in the face of political stonewalling by the United States government. 7:00 p.m. Todos Los Santos Church (Salem Lutheran Church), 610 W. 28th Street, Minneapolis, MN. FFI Mary Swenson, Resource Center of The Americas, (612) 627-9445.

10 Human Rights Fair and Recognition Event. 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Como Park Pavilion, 1360 N. Lexington Parkway, St. Paul. FFI, Partners Project, (612) 626-0041.

17 Hennepin County Volunteer Lawyers Network Training. The Network will hold a training session for attorneys to work on pro bono immigration cases. FFI, Jennifer Prestholdt, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, (612) 341-3302.

23 Race, Media, and Capital Punishment. Conference speakers will include Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama, and Steve Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The conference will also feature a number of Twin Cities speakers and a panel of judges. Conference tuition is $125 for the day, with a special rate of $55 for public interest and government employees and $10 for students. FFI, Sara Gurwitch, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Death Penalty Project, (612) 341-3302.

June 1996

1-9 Human Rights Travel/Study Seminar to Guatemala. Sponsored by St. Mary's University School of Law, this seminar offers an opportunity to engage in the study of human rights and international law. Participants will review selected international treaties, analyze the political problems of implementing and enforcing human rights law, and experience firsthand the relevance of human rights law to politics, culture, economics, and the environment. FFI, Global Education, (612) 330-1159.

3 Breaking the Cycle of Violence: 1996 Annual Human Rights Awards Dinner. The Minnesota Advocates annual dinner will feature Judge Richard J. Goldstone, Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The dinner will be held at the Minneapolis Hilton Grand Ballroom. Tickets are $125 per person. FFI, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, (612) 341-3302.

23-July 12 17th Annual International Human Rights Training Programme. The Canadian Human Rights Foundation program will focus on non-governmental organizations involved in human rights. Full or partial bursaries are available for most selected participants. FFI, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, (612) 341-3302.

July 1996

3-13 Learning from the South: A Seminar in Nicaragua for Women Leaders. Through encounters with people and organizations representing many sectors of Nicaragua, the seminar is designed to assist women leaders in agencies or positions dealing with conditions or problems affecting women and children as well as women involved in grassroots and community organizations. FFI, Mary Pat Liggio or Mary Ruth Clowdlsely, the Women's Center, (804) 484-2121, or the Center for Global Education, (612) 330-1159.

July 1996

13-14, 20-21 The Healing Gardens Tour. The fourth annual Healing Gardens Tour will be held on July 13-14 for St. Paul and selected suburban areas and on July 20-21 for Minneapolis and selected suburban areas. Participants will receive a list of garden addresses and a map with the garden locations. Participants may visit as many gardens as they like. The tour will benefit the Center for Victims of Torture. Advance tickets: $25.00 for individuals and $40.00 for families. Day of the event tickets: $30.00 for individuals and $45.00 for families. To order by phone call (612) 625-6426. To order by mail, send a check to the Center for Victims of Torture, 717 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. FFI (612) 626-1400.

18-27 Experiential Education in a Cross-Cultural Context. The Center for Global Education offers a nine-day graduate-level course for educators in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Through experiential education and field trips, the course will focus on enhancing appreciation for cultural differences and sharpen theoretical knowledge and practical skills in experiential education. Application required by June 1, 1996. FFI, Center for Global Education, (612) 330-1159.

August 1996

1-8 Nicaragua at a Crossroads: A Nation Divided Prepares for Elections. A week long travel seminar will focus on the political and social challenges Nicaragua has faced over the past 17 years. FFI, Center for Global Education, (612) 330-1159.

4-11 Mexico: Poor, Yet Making Many Rich. A Curriculum Development and Transformative Education Seminar. A eight-day seminar in Mexico built around field trips and excursions will explore the Mexican people's struggle to create effective responses to the challenges of poverty, racism, sexism, social discord, and environmental degradation. FFI, Center for Global Education, (612) 330-1559.

Lesson Plans

Sharing lesson plans is an excellent way to help generate ideas and to share classroom experiences with other Partners Project members. As the end of the school year approaches, each team should work on writing down and submitting at least one lesson plan. The lesson plan can be an activity for one class or an entire unit. The Partners Project has additional template forms for lesson plans. Please fill out the "Lesson Planner" form and fax it to the Partners Project at (612) 625-2011, mail it or drop it at the Partners Project Office.

Lessons will be compiled in a three ring binder and available in the Human Rights Education Library. Let's share our successes and ideas with each other!


Community Action! Projects

Three brief notes about Community Action! Projects. First, please call or send in your students' project, to the Partners Project by May 24, 1996 for the next edition of the Explorer. Second, the Partners Project will be updating the Community Action! Manual this summer. You will receive a call from the Partners Project staff or Executive Committee and you will be asked to give a brief description of the project(s) that your team and students have done in 1995-1996 and in prior years that you may have participated. Third, if you have not received a copy of the Community Action! Project Manual, please call the Partners Project at (612) 626-0041 or drop a note, and we will send you a copy immediately.


Battle of the Bands

Area Learning Center
St. Cloud, Minnesota
Steve Hansen, Teacher
Margaret Maderfeld, Lawyer
Kathy Maloney, Community Representative
Age: High School

Issue: To be hungry anywhere in America is a crime. To be hungry in Minnesota in the middle of winter is torture. In the state of Minnesota there are 74,000 children under the age of 12 who are hungry. A total of 160,000 are either hungry or at risk of hunger in the state of Minnesota; 21.2% of the children under 12 are at risk of hunger.

Our team's main concern is the hunger problem of the youth in St. Cloud, Minnesota. We are students at an alternative high school who see this problem at school on a day to day basis. The following are two testimonials from our working team:

Student 1 is a 16-year-old student at the St. Cloud Area Learning Center who has faced the problem of hunger throughout her childhood. When she was in elementary school, her family faced a particularly hard time when most meals, outside free school lunches, consisted of saltine crackers. Her family got through these times with little help. There are still times when her family goes hungry toward the end of the month.

Student 2, from St. Joseph, MN, went through similar hardships as a child. Money for food was scarce at times and he and his twin brother looked to their older brother to make them ketchup sandwiches or toast when there was nothing else available. After a while they began to seek help from some local food shelves who would provide things such as bread, canned goods, and maybe an occasional box of Rice a Roni. His family relies mostly on food stamps for consistent meals.

These students are not a rare exception to the rule at the Area Learning Center. A large percentage of students here have faced, and still do face, this problem. That's why we feel that it is our responsibility to become a part of the solution.

Community Action Project:

1. Arranged Entertainment: We booked five bands to volunteer their playing time for a food drive. A local radio D.J. is also volunteering time at the event to give away music cassettes and Radio Station Merchandise.

2. Arranged Location: We secured the most cost effective location available which is the Del Win Ballroom in St. Joseph, Minnesota.

3. Advertising:

a) A local radio station has agreed to match our advertising time.

b) Designed flyers for the advertisement that we will be hanging around St. Cloud and the surrounding areas such as: St. Joe, Sauk Rapids, Clearwater and Waite Park. All are a part of the school system and part of the St. Cloud Community.

c) Contacted the St. Cloud Times to have the event listed in "Silver Linings," a listing of community events.

4. Equipment: Contacted community members to volunteer the time and equipment to put on the show. Through the help of the bands, we obtained equipment such as a P.A. system, lighting, speakers, and guitar and bass amplifiers.

5. Security: We contacted the Stearns County Sheriff's Department to find out if off-duty officers could regulate the audience at the show.

6. Proceeds: All proceeds will be donated to the Caritas Food Shelf.

Goals and Measurement of Success:

1. Goals:

a) To set a proactive model to other teens which inspires them to recognize and take action against the problem of hunger in our own community.

b) To alert all people who attend the event and community members in general to the serious problem we need to face as a community.

c) To provide food for the Caritas food shelter during January, a month when food stocks are traditionally low.

2. Measurements of Success:

a) Whether we reach our goal of 100 pounds of donated food, which represents five people's food supply for a week.

b) Whether we reach our goal of raising $700.00 at this performance which could mean 1400 cans of soup, 1400 dozen eggs, or 700 pounds of ground beef for people who are hungry in our community.

c) Comparison of the number of people who attend and the amount of food donated. These measurements will indicate how the issue of hungry people's needs were heard and met by the community.

Future Projects:

1. The 25(+) signatures and numbers gathered at the show will be used to bring together a group of people to set up an additional project to battle this problem in our community.

2. The names will be submitted to Caritas Food Shelf. Caritas will contact them to volunteer in special projects or daily work.


Congratulations to the Area Learning Center Students!! This project won the "Do Something Grant" sponsored by Blockbuster, Guess, Taco Bell, and the New York Times.

1996 Partners Project Dates to Remember

April 27 Follow-Up Workshop in Madison, Wisconsin. Place to be announced. 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

May 10 1995-96 Human Rights Fair and Recognition Event. Como Park Pavilion, 1360 N. Lexington Parkway, St. Paul. 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


Partners in Human Rights Education
U of M Human Rights Center/
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights
439 Law Center
229 - 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

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