We are very excited to announce the recipients of our 2015 U.S. Human Rights Movement Builders Awards! Our ceremony honoring these powerful and necessary organizations and individuals will take place during our sixth biannual conference, ADVANCING HUMAN RIGHTS 2015: Sharpening Our Vision, Reclaiming our Dreams - this December. We hope you will join us to celebrate them and their important work in Austin, TX this year!
Register today! www.ushrnetwork.org/2015BiannualConferenceRegistration
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization is a union of public assistance recipients, low-income workers, unemployed persons and economically disenfranchised people based in Detroit. Founded in 1966, it is an original member of the National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) and, subsequent, National Welfare Rights Union (NWRU). MWRO organizes recipients and low-income workers on public benefits rights and toward the elimination of poverty – all while building a movement of leaders from the bottom-up on the economic and human rights of poor people.
As an all-volunteer organization, MWRO advocates and intervenes on behalf of its members -- victims of poverty -- when disputes surface between this population and service delivery agencies and/or public-private policies. MWRO sponsors community training sessions that cover eligibility for utility shut-off assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, cash assistance, disputes with landlords, ‘know your rights’ strategies and how to file a hearing when these rights are being violated.
Black Workers for Justice
Black Workers For Justice was formed out of a struggle led by Black women workers against race discrimination at a Kmart store in Rocky Mount, NC in 1981. A Kmart workers committee was formed as Black Workers For Justice at Kmart to carry out a worker and community campaign to put pressure on the Kmart Corporation. By using a petition to reach out to area workplaces and the community and building a coalition that initiated a Kmart boycott, workers from other workplaces and supporters from 10 counties came together to form Black Workers For Justice in the Spring of 1982 to build workplace organizing committees with a broad Black and working class economic and social justice program.
Prison Birth Project
Prison Birth Project (PBP) supports, encourages, and trains currently and formerly incarcerated mothers and trans* parents to become community leaders within a reproductive justice framework. The need is dire. In women’s prisons, 85% are mothers, and 25% were pregnant on arrest or gave birth in the previous year. The criminal justice system and media demonize people in conflict with the law to justify and prevent outcry against denials of basic human rights, such as adequate pregnancy healthcare, nutrition, and reproductive choice.
In 2014, PBP members spearheaded successful efforts to pass a new Massachussets law that ends shackling during pregnancy/labor/postpartum, sets standards for pregnancy healthcare and nutrition in jails/prisons, and more. Now we are working to call the state out for its many infringements, and push for full adherence to the new law. PBP members are also educating the public to build a world in which people in conflict with the law are understood to be oppressed, facing life crisis, and deserving of compassion and respect.
 “Imprisonment and Families Fact Sheet.” Women in Prison Project, Correctional Association of New York. April 2009. Retrieved from http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/Families_Fact_Sheet_2009_FINAL.pdf
Colette Pichon Battle, Esq.
Executive Director/Attorney, Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy
Colette Pichon Battle, Esq. is a native of Louisiana who, over the past nine years, has worked with local communities, national funders and elected officials around equity in the post-Katrina/post-BP disaster Gulf Coast. In 2007, Colette received recognition from the American Bar Association and in 2008 she was awarded the U.S. Civilian Medal of Honor for the state of Louisiana- both awards were for her work around multi-racial, cross regional alliance building in the Katrina recovery. In 2012, Colette was named an “Expert of Color” by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development on issues that surround the US racial wealth divide. In 2014, Colette was selected for the Young Climate Justice National Fellowship based on her work with coastal communities of color.
Colette is a lead coordinator for Gulf South Rising 2015 a regional initiative around climate justice and just transition in the South. She serves on the board for the US Climate Action Network (USCAN), and has served on the national steering committee for the Black Immigration Network (BIN). Colette is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), National Lawyers Guild, Experts of Color Network (ECON), and her local NAACP and League of Women Voters chapters.
Rob Robinson is a member of the Leadership Committee of the Take Back the Land Movement and a staff volunteer at the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI). After losing his job in 2001, he spent two years homeless on the streets of Miami and ten months in a New York City shelter. He eventually overcame homelessness and has been in the housing movement based in New York City since 2007. In the fall of 2009, Rob was chosen to be the New York City chairperson for the first ever official mission of a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing. He was a member of an advance team coordinated by the US Human Rights Network in early 2010; traveling to Geneva Switzerland several times to prepare for the United States initial appearance in the Universal Periodic Review.
Rob has worked with homeless populations in Budapest Hungary and Berlin Germany and is connected with housing movements in South Africa and Brazil. He works with the European Squatters Collective, International Alliance of Inhabitants; Landless People’s Movement (MST) and the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) and is a member of the Steering Committee of the USA Canada Alliance of Inhabitants.
Since 2001, Adelina Nicholls has overseen, coordinated, and carried out the efforts of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) to develop grassroots leaders and organizations within Georgia’s Latino immigrant communities in order to defend and advance Latinos' civil and human rights. Originally from Mexico City, Adelina studied sociology at the Autonomous National University of México (UNAM), where she later taught courses in sociology, social theory, social research techniques, and methodology in the Political and Social Science College.
In 1999, Adelina co-founded and served as President of the Coordinating Council of Latino Community Leaders of Atlanta—the organization out of which GLAHR grew. In this role, Adelina facilitated community organizing workshops and leadership development trainings for Latino immigrants, as well as coordinated a campaign that acquired over 30,000 signatures to demand for undocumented immigrants’ right to obtain driver’s licenses. Adelina later served as a lead organizer for the First Latino March for Dignity in Georgia, during which more than 5,000 people gathered to demand driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. She was also a spokesperson and co-organizer of the March 17 Alliance for Immigration Reform (Alianza 17 de Marzo), which took place on April 10, 2006, and mobilized more than 70 thousand people.
Standish Willis and Joey Mogul
Stan Willis is an attorney in the City of Chicago specializing in personal injury, criminal defense and federal rights cases. Most of his civil rights and human rights practice involves suits against police for acts of violence and civil abuse. He chairs the Chicago Chapter of The National Conference of Black Lawyers, and is a member of the Cook County Bar Association and the National Lawyers Guild.
During the summer of 2005, Stan led a group of lawyers and community activists in an effort to focus international attention on police torture in Chicago. In September 2005, Stan presented evidence of police torture before the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He supported the participation of a colleague in the next UN delegation to Geneva, due to his own appellate court conflict. In May 2006, the UN Committee Against Torture sharply criticized the US for failing to bring the officers responsible for torture in Chicago to justice and called for a criminal prosecution in these cases.
Joey L. Mogul is a partner at the People’s Law Office in Chicago, Illinois and co-founder of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM). For the last eighteen years, Mogul has fought, both as an attorney and activist, for justice for those tortured and harmed by notorious former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and his ring of detectives. Mogul’s legal advocacy has included representing several of the torture survivors in criminal post-conviction proceedings, civil rights cases and obtaining appointed legal counsel for those tortured who continue to languish behind bars.
In the wake of Burge's conviction, Mogul co-founded CTJM, a volunteer, grassroots group of artists, activists, torture survivors, educators and attorneys. Responding to Standish Willis' and Black People Against Police Torture's revolutionary call for reparations, CTJM mounted a campaign seeking reparations and Mogul drafted the original reparations ordinance. In the course of the campaign, CTJM worked with the Midwest Coalition for Human Rights to submit a shadow report to the CAT and the CAT in November of 2014 called on the U.S. Government to support the passage of the reparations ordinance. Emboldened by the CAT finding, CTJM joined forces with Amnesty International, Project NIA and We Charge Genocide, to lead an inspirational, multiracial and intergenerational campaign, waged within the larger context of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to pass the ordinance in the course of the hotly contested Mayoral and aldermanic election in Chicago. On May 6, 2015, Chicago's City Council passed reparations legislation, becoming the first city in the U.S. to provide reparations for racially motivated police violence.