ADVANCING HUMAN RIGHTS 2013: Emerging Issue Presentations

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USHRN is excited to announce the presentations on emerging human rights topics for our Biannual Conference.  These presentations will inform conference participants about human rights issues that impact the most marginalized and vulnerable communities in the U.S. and are “emerging” or evolving rights concerns. Join this session to learn more about these important human rights concerns, which often receive little to no attention, and to learn how we can mobilize collectively to raise awareness of these human rights issues.

This session will be held on Sunday, December 8, from 9:00am - 10:30am.


Giving Voice and Seeking Justice: The Birth of a Black Women's Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the U.S.

This presentation will highlight the state of Black women's human rights in America, their experiences with rape/sexual violence, the history, the need, the reason and vision of the U.S. Black Women's Truth and Reconciliation. The presentation will discuss how this BWTRC is the first of its kind to focus on sexual assault and Black women in the U.S., how it is different and/or similar to other U.S. based Commissions and how the human rights policy goals around economic security and criminal justice reform has been able to guarantee community buy-in, and will guarantee its long-term success and results.   The presentation will tell the audience about how the BWTRC was built on the ground, its base solidified and its work launched as an independent body, led by civil society.

Farah Tanis, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Black Women's Blueprint

Repression of Student Activism for Palestinian Human Rights – An Emerging Battle over Free Speech on Campus

Advocacy for Palestinian human rights is increasing, and so too is repression of activists, especially on college campuses.   This presentation will provide an overview of the type of repression that students and academics are facing because of their Palestinian rights activism – from criminal prosecutions for speech activities, to disciplinary sanctions, to smear and intimidation campaigns, to surveillance and infiltration. Learn about ways that individuals and organizations can help protect free expression on this and other important issues.

Dima Khalidi, Director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, and Cooperating Counsel, Center for Constitutional Rights

Providing Solutions, Not Punishment for Street Level Sex Workers and Drug Users

The presentation will chronicle the Banishment Ordinance introduced in Atlanta in February 2013 that would have banished street level sex workers from parts of the city upon a first time conviction. The ordinance was defeated by the Solutions Not Punishment Coalition anchored by the Racial Justice Action Center, LaGender, Trans(forming) and other organizations. Strategies used to mobilize and build support in the Metro-Atlanta area to defeat the ordinance will be shared along with our current fight for a pre-booking diversion program to keep those engaged in low level drug use and street level sex work out of the criminal justice system.  We will share how we have worked to mobilize the community around a central issue, and utilized the media to help reframe the debate.

Troya Sampson, Coalition Coordinator, Racial Justice Action Center and Representative from Solutions Not Punishment Coalition

Indigenous Peoples Rights in “Insular Areas”: Focus on Boriken (Puerto Rico)

This presentation will highlight the need to compel the United States to recognize its duty to comply with its human rights obligations to the Taíno People and all Indigenous Peoples within Territories and “Insular areas” over which the U.S. continues to exert sovereignty; as well as the need to build new coalitions that would include Indigenous Peoples of Insular areas within the larger human rights community.

Roberto Mukaro Borrero, Borikén Taino community leader, and the President of the United Confederation of Taino People


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