USHRN's Human Rights Hearing occurred on October 24 and Gulf Coast Regional Meeting on October 25, both in New Orleans. The hearing gathered information on human rights abuses prevalent or unique to the region from people directly impacted. The regional meeting was a great opportunity for human rights and social justice advocates to come together to share experiences and strategies (check out the agenda).
- Human Rights 101: Friday, October 24 @ 4:00 pm - Activists learned how to hold our government accountable to human rights laws and standards that include protections for racial discrimination, environmental justice, Indigenous rights, immigrant rights, access to water, and sustainable development.
- Human Rights Hearing: Friday, October 24 @ 5:30 pm - Gulf Coast area residents whose basic human rights are being denied through the actions of government testified about their experiences.
- Regional Meeting: Saturday, October 25 - Human rights and social justice advocates shared experiences and strategies, learned about human rights struggles in the region, and discovered opportunities to collaborate on new and existing projects.
- Strengthen/grow activism in the southeastern U.S.
- Bring attention to the current state of human rights in the region (in light of 10th and 5th anniversary of Katrina and the BP oil spill, respectively)
- Gather testimony from directly impacted persons to share with UN review committees and U.S. Government policy makers at the local, state and federal levels
- Raise awareness of relevance of international human rights mechanisms to local and regional issues and advocacy efforts, and engage groups in this work
- Promote the application of an intersectional analysis and methodology grounded in a gendered lens, as essential for effective human rights work that is deep, broad and sustainable
- Promote constructive conversations about solidarity – how this looks and is realized in the human rights movement
- Engage youth in active participation in the meeting
- Foster collaboration that will continue after the meeting among groups in the region
The New Orleans hearing and regional meeting was coordinated by a local and regional steering committee of social justice advocates:
- Monique Harden - Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
- Endesha Juakali - Survivors Village
- Shana Griffin - Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative
- Bill Chandler - MS Immigrant Rights Alliance (MIRA)
- Nsombi Lambright - One Voice
- Teresa Bettis - Center for Fair Housing, Inc
- Johnetta Wilson - Africatown Community Development Corp
- Tony McCray - McCray & Associates
- Bette Billiot – United Huoma Nation
- Nicole Robinson - Dream Defenders
- Terence Courtney - Atlanta Public Sector Alliance
- Emery Wright - Project South
- May Nguyen - Public Interest Law and Advocacy (PILAR) Group of Coastal LA
- Julie Mao – New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice
- Earnest Johnson – Families and Friends of LA Incarcerated Children
- Gina Womack – Families and Friends of LA Incarcerated Children
- Deon Haywood – Women With a Vision
Below were the jurists for the Human Rights Hearings on Friday evening.
- Lisa Crooms, Howard University School of Law Gerald Lenoir, Lenoir and Associates Michelle DePass, The New School
- Lolis Ellie, Esq., Civil Rights Attorney