Focus on Human Rights & Dignity

by | Sep 2, 2022 | ShiftHappens

This week, we continue looking in-depth at stories and projects within each of our focus areas. Through our Human Rights & Dignity panel, over the last ten years the community has supported 486 grassroots projects in 84 countries. These projects vary widely, but each share a desire to tell a sacred aspect of the ongoing quest for equity, inclusion and belonging. Here are a few that have especially stood out:

Peter J. Harris, “See You” & The Black Man of Happiness Project

“What is a happy Black man?” 

This one question inspired Peter J. Harris to embark on a creative, intellectual and artistic exploration that led to the development of The Black Man of Happiness project. Looking through the lens of happiness, Mr. Harris explores African American life and history from a refreshing, life-affirming new angle. Working with Research Librarian Helen Cate and designer Julie Ray, Peter uplifts historical images of Black men emanating a sense of joy. To experience these narrative-changing images of happiness, visit https://blackmanofhappiness.com/.

Kahlid el-Hakim, The Black History 101 Museum

Often referred to as the “Schomburg of the Hip-Hop generation” due to his passionate commitment to carry on the rich tradition of the Black Museum Movement, Dr. el-Hakim created the award-winning Black History 101 Mobile Museum. This collection has traveled to over 40 states and features over 10,000 original artifacts of Black memorabilia dating from the trans-Atlantic slave trade era to hip-hop culture. “Ourstory” has been shared in over 500 institutions reaching tens of thousands of visitors in diverse spaces including colleges, K-12 schools, corporations, conferences, libraries, museums, festivals, religious institutions, and cultural events. To learn more, visit https://www.blackhistorymobilemuseum.com/.

Shoshana Akabas & The New Neighbors Partnership

Shoshana Akabas’ New Neighbors Partnership (NNP) in NYC connects newly-arrived refugee families with local “partner” families who have slightly older kids. Each local family sends or delivers 2-3 pieces of hand-me-down clothing packages per year to its partner family. For these families, this is far more than a blind donation exchange, it is building supportive, ongoing  family-to-family relationships. In an effort to help more refugees, Shoshana hired a translator to translate materials to Pashto, Farsi, Dari, and Urdu, formed new partnerships with local companies and created new relationships with other resettlement organizations. Today over 250 refugee children in NYC from over 30 countries have been served with over $125,000 worth of gifted clothing and supplies. To learn more visit https://www.newneighborspartnership.org/

Abdel Mandili and The People’s Planet Project

“How could we as creatives and filmmakers help you?” 

This was the question that Abdel Mandili, a filmmaker from the Netherlands, posed to Indigenous people around the globe. Overwhelmingly, they responded, “We need your equipment and skills.” That moment inspired the creation of People’s Planet Project, an organization that promotes social activism through the use of storytelling and GeoStory Camps, a program that seeks to fight deforestation by uplifting Indigenous voices. While following a structured curriculum, young Indigenous camp participants learn to use filmmaking and geospatial mapping to illustrate how deforestation is not only destroying their ancestral land, it’s violating their human rights. Creation of this work ensures that environmental lawyers will be better able to collect evidence that will protect both land and people. Now, as these international filmmakers become better at filmmaking and mapping, they become more powerful ambassadors for their communities. To explore more of this work, visit https://www.peoplesplanetproject.org/

These are just a few of the hundreds of human rights projects our advisor team has supported over the last ten years. Take a look below at a full map of other human rights projects in the TPP global community.