Human Rights Activism Opportunities

  • The Sex Workers Project

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    The Sex Workers Project is doing the hard work of advocacy on behalf of a stigmatized industry. They provide client-centered legal and social services to individuals who engage in sex work, regardless of whether they do so by choice, circumstance, or coercion. Their professional service providers are multi-lingual and non-judgmental, assisting clients to remain in stable housing, access safer working conditions and employment options, protect their legal rights in family court, clear criminal records, secure legal immigration status, fight police misconduct, and access long-term supportive therapy while creating best practices in a marginalized, but legitimate field.

    The “Not Your Rescue Project” hash tag was started in January by a coalition of sex workers and allies fighting back against stigma and the idea that they were all powerless women in need of saving by predatory NGOs. [just said “N-G-O”] Read the linked article by Andrea Garcia-Vargas published at “Bustle” on where the hashtag started and how to support the activists’ efforts. If you’re just becoming aware of the issue of sex workers rights, the stories and narratives you’ll find there will help break down preconceived notions and give you a way to engage with one of the most marginalized groups in our society. If they can be brave enough to speak, we should honor that by listening and learning to become allies.

    Take Action:

    No Condoms as Evidence

    emPOWER - a Celebration of the Sex Workers Project, June 5th, NYC

    Additional Activism:

    Follow #NotYourRescueProject

    The Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP): Take Action and Volunteer

    More info:

    ”Playing the Whore” by Melissa Gira Grant

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: The Sex Workers Project, episode #826 "Work is work is work (Wage and Respect Gap)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • USA Freedom Act

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    The USA Freedom Act is a piece of legislation with bipartisan sponsorship and support. It is a comprehensive overhaul of the NSA spying program that repeals the surveillance state sections of the Patriot Act and FISA. The ACLU and Electronic Freedom Foundation are supporting it — and they’re not alone. The USA Freedom Act is even supported by Freedom Works — the national conservative group that helped launch the tea party (those were their buses you saw at rallies) while continuing to fund Rush Limbaugh & Glenn Beck.

    As the ACLU closes their plea for action: “Let's make sure our representatives in Congress hear us: We won't tolerate our own government spying on us any more. Let’s win this fight.”

    Take Action:

    Contact your legislators to support The USA Freedom Act via the ACLU and/or the EFF

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: USA Freedom Act, episode #818 "Burn it to the ground (NSA Spying)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Yes 4 Elkhart

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    The parent — teacher — community campaign style of the Chicago Teacher’s Union has spread across the country. Parents and students stood with teachers in Boston earlier this year to oppose the expansion of charter schools. Thousands signed petitions and educated the community, mobilizing a network prepared to form a wall against outside, corporate monied interests.

    Most of our country’s communities are smaller than Boston and Chicago, however. Many are without strong union support and wonder how they are to stand up to conservative governors and skeptical voters as they work to halt charter school development and fight budget cuts under already bare bones conditions. Teachers and parents in Elkhart, Indiana decided their students were worth fighting for despite the odds. “Yes 4 Elkhart” is a referendum to support the Elkhart Community School System’s more than 12,000 students by repairing aging facilities, increasing safety and improving transportation.

    No matter where you live, these are the grassroots efforts we should be amplifying. Let’s build on wins and repeat what works in school districts and cities from coast to coast. We do have power at the local level; find out what’s happening to the schools in your community and see if the Yes 4 Elkhart and Chicago Teacher’s Union efforts can changes conditions as we work to rebuild the foundation our of nation’s public education system.

    Take Action:

    Yes 4 Elkhart referendum

    Yes 4 Elkhart on Facebook

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: Yes 4 Elkhart, episode #820 "More misplaced incentive structures (Education)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The Ali Forney Center

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    We have what can only be described as an epidemic of homelessness among LGBTQ youth in this country. According to Colorlines, though only 5 to 7 percent of youth overall identify as LGBTQ, as many as 45 percent of homeless youth are queer identified. A conservative estimate is that there are 200,000 homeless LGBT youth, but just 350 beds in 10 programs across the nation to meet that need.

    The Ali Forney Center was started in June 2002 as a response to the lack of safe shelter in New York City. They provide not only housing, drop in service, STI testing and treatment, substance abuse counseling and career assistance, but are "dedicated to promoting awareness of the plight of homeless LGBTQ youth in the United States with the goal of generating responses on local and national levels from government funders, foundations, and the LGBTQ community.”

    Take Action:

    The Ali Forney Center

    The Ali Forney Story

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: The Ali Forney Center, episode #821 "The arc of history and the stumbles along the way (LGBTQ Rights)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The Freedom Center for Social Justice

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    The Freedom Center for Social Justice, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, is hard at work on the slate of these often ignored, vital issues. Their LGBTQ Law Center provides legal representation, education and advocacy to assist with name changes, divorce, marriage, custody, landlord/tenant disputes, powers of attorney, wills and employment issues. Their mission is "to enhance quality of life by increasing the number of healthy options & opportunities available to low income communities, communities of color, sexual minorities and youth.”

    The 2014 Transgender Faith and Action Network Conference is August 29 through 31 in Charlotte. Registration is open now for this networking and advocacy training opportunity. Organizers are gearing up for sessions on legal protections, health and wellness, employment and growing more inclusive faith communities.

    Take Action:

    The Freedom Center for Social Justice

    Transgender Faith and Action Network (Trans*FANN)

    Also, like Freedom Center For Social Justice LGBTQ Law Center on Facebook and Follow on Twitter

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: Freedom Center For Social Justice, episode #817 "The power of words (Trans Rights)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • The Clinic Vest Project

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    Because of the Supreme Court case challenging the Massachusetts state buffer zone — which provides a reasonable separation of picketers and patients — and a publicity push by NARAL and others, the climate outside our nation’s reproductive healthcare clinics is finally getting some attention. Community members are stepping up and standing with providers, staff and patients by volunteering as clinic defense escorts.

    Healthcare that is technically legal, but not accessible further widens the gaps created by privilege and increases the burdens on low-income Americans who are seeing their only available healthcare taken away. Standing up for our country’s clinics not only aids the individuals in our communities seeking care, but shows legislators and anti-choice groups that the majority of Americans believe they should be able to walk into a clinic without driving a thousand miles round-trip and without intimidation as they do so.

    Take Action:

    Like the Clinic Vest Project on Facebook and follow on Twitter for the latest on clinic defense, violence and buffer zones around the country. You can also contact them for connections to escort groups in need of volunteers.

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: The Clinic Vest Project, episode #813 "Intolerant of discrimination and proud of it (Reproductive Rights)"

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • We Do Campaign

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    Join the Campaign for Southern Equality as they refuse to concede the conventional wisdom that “the South is unwinnable” on LGBT rights. Only FIVE PERCENT of national LGBT organizational funds go to the south, resulting in limited resources for advocacy and a higher than average risk of poverty because of extreme discrimination. As couples and their allies stand up to be counted, the tide of acceptance and love will continue through states like Kentucky and Virginia where recent victories are still being celebrated. There’s plenty of room on the bandwagon for activists, allies and legislators alike.

    Take Action:

    We Do Campaign from The Campaign for Southern Equality

    More info:

    Follow/Like The Campaign for Southern Equalityon Facebook and Twitter

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: The We Do Campaign, episode #812 "Pathetically grasping at cakes (LGBTQ Rights)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • After Tiller

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    Currently, 87% of counties in the US do not have an abortion provider, largely because of new laws and the fever-pitch at which they've been implemented since the Tea Party wave of 2010. The biggest provider shortage is for late term abortions. There are only four doctors in the entire country who terminate pregnancies in the third-trimester.

    If we are to have a real conversation about reproductive justice in this country, we must move beyond anecdotes, sound bytes and slogans. The implications of legal restrictions on abortion care and the affect they have on real people must be considered and understood. The "After Tiller” filmmakers have provided us with a unique opportunity to begin that process.

    Take Action:

    Visit After Tiller for showings and info on the documentary and rent via iTunes .

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: After Tiller, episode #791 "We just earned a D grade (Reproductive Rights)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Stand Up For Mental Health

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    More than 46 million Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness. That is a sizable — and fluid — minority. As some disorders are temporary or situational, the likelihood that you or someone close to you will be affected by mental illness during your lifetime is significant.

    Yet, despite the commonplace nature of mental health issues, the stigma surrounding any illness or disorder that can be placed under that heading is intense and affects nearly every aspect of life. In fact, we often categorize mental health care as separate from other health care, as if one's mind has no affect on one's physical well-being. This separation is one of the reasons there are often job and relationship consequences to speaking up, seeking care and disclosing even minor details of one’s mental illness, thus condemning many to silent suffering.

    Take Action:

    Visit HealthyPlace.com and support their campaign, access resources, and make connections: Stand Up For Mental Health Campaign

    Additional Activism/Resources: Affordable Care Act & National Alliance of Mental Illness

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: Stand Up For Mental Health, episode #797 "Trouble at the old pharm (Health Care)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

  • Demanding Tuition-Free Public College Education

    BOTL segment excerpt:

    According to TruthOut, the average graduate now walks with $29,400 in student loans — a burden they must repay no matter their field of study, career success or starting salary. Student loan debt isn’t subject to discharge through bankruptcy. Think about that. Corporations can escape fines, pension obligations and shoddy business deals by filing bankruptcy. But if an American graduates from college into an awful job market and doesn’t “make it” fast enough to get a handle on their student loans, they’re stuck with them forever. And should they default, their entire financial future can be ruined before their 30th birthday.

    It’s time public higher education was free.

    Take Action:

    Sign the CREDO petition Make Public College Tuition Free

    More info:

    Listen to the source segment for this activism at BOTL Activism: Demanding Tuition-Free Public College Education, episode #793 "Our social safety sieve (Economics)”

    Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich