"Human Rights are an inconvenience. They are seen as inconvenient to progress by governments, corporations, or organizations. They are seen as obstacles and only valued by a small portion of citizens, who are often the victims, the marginalized or the forgotten. It is up to us, as to remind our governments and our communities that human rights confer the very basic dignity and respect that all humans deserve." ~ Benjamin Wolf (read the entire address)
"I thought tonight's event was excellent. I loved each and every speaker," Jess Lyzun said, capturing the feeling of the intimate evening. "There has to be a way to get people to engage. Beautiful event. So grateful to have been invited."
World Relief DuPage /Aurora. Stand with the Vulnerable.
"There are 27 million refugees and less than 1% go to any 3rd country," said Alison Bell, Senior Resettlement Manager of World Relief DuPage/Aurora. "So why three countries? Their first country is the country they are fleeing from due to war or persecution, so they can't stay there. The second country is where they flee to and the third country is where they can find refuge. Often a refugee will live in a refugee camp for 10 years. Now, imagine, if youre fleeing, what can you bring? Not much, right?"
World Relief helps refugees with everything from basic every day items to finding a good neighborhood to resettle in. Alison makes the analogy about getting into an elevator and that initial discomfort you might feel being looked at or being in front of strangers. World Relief realizes the emotional state and fragility people may be in when being forced to relocate often to a new country in such a way and strives to embrace these newcomers with warmth and smiles. Alison pointed out that her cousin’s family fled to Canada fleeing persecution from Russia and how that is common among us. "So, it isnt just 'some' story," she says. "It's many of our stories."
World Relief DuPage is an eighty plus person staff joining with over 125 local churches and 800 volunteers to serve 5,500 refugees and immigrants each year.
Read more here> http://worldreliefdupage.org/
According to the worldwide World Relief website, 'the number of people in our world displaced from their homes by violence and persecution is unprecedented in human history. By the end of 2015, over 65 million people were forcibly displaced, with nearly a third–20 million–living outside of their countries as refugees."
3 Things You Can Do for Refugees Right Now
Hesed House. Because everyone deserves dignity.
Elise Manzie, Assistant Director of Development at Hesed House has been volunteering at Hesed House since she was four years old. There are now more than ten thousand volunteers and donors and, as she says, "the goal is to put ourselves out of business." Hesed House is the second largest homeless shelter in the second largest city in the Illinois.
In a very human moment, she told a story about a mother and 6 year old daughter that had gotten evicted. She worked a year and a half living at Hesed House to pay off what she owed from the eviction.
"It is very difficult to find some place to go and to find some place safe," Elise stated. "And it is very difficult to find a rental after being evicted. They probably will never be able to rent from some place corporate owned. But the day came when she found a new place to live and she was so nervous and excited she had a hard time telling her daughter who had just turned 7 for fear of something going wrong. When I asked her what kind of mattress she would like, she said, 'Well, we've been sleeping on mats on the floor for a year and a half so it really doesnt matter' and I just had to step back for a moment and realize this tender situation.”
Hesed House offers not only 'eats and sheets', but also substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling and other resources. From January to today they have helped 266 obtain employment or job training, 193 obtain Veterans benefits or other benefits and 405 obtain housing.
Read more about them> http://www.hesedhouse.org/
Want to Help?
Donate, Volunteer or check out their Needs List> http://www.hesedhouse.org/needs-list/
Maybe attend an Event> http://www.hesedhouse.org/events-calendar/
Reclaim 13. Love is Greater than Fear.
JT Porte has two teenage girls and after one was persued by a guy in a car when she was 12 years old he knew he had to do something. The man was persistent, he said. She was with her cousin who said she was going to call the police, but he just circled back around.
"For a long time I was paralyzed because I felt like this was something that was really big," said Porte, "and I didn't know how to do something about it. A lot of people think this is going on oversees - an it is going over sees - but it is definitely going on here as well."
Reclaim 13's Cherish house is where rescued children and teens go to reclaim the life they were supposed to have. 13 is the average age of children who are trafficked. Often these children are still pursued by the people who were selling them. These children and teens testify in court, so not only would a pimp try to steal back the child, they try to avoid being tried in court. The Reclaim 13 team displayed letters from some girls who lived at Cherish House.
Porte invited the audience to join a walk/ run in Downers Grove, participate in the online charity challenge or even to choose to pray.
"We ask that you also pray for the people that are doing this," he said, "That they would just wake up and see what they are doing."
According to the website, 'adolescents with backgrounds of neglect, violence, and abuse are most vulnerable to predators. This means 250,000 to 350,000 children in the U.S. are at-risk for further victimization. 70-90% of girls sexually exploited in the U.S. were sexually abused before they were recruited into commercial sex trafficking. [These children need to be told] abuse is not ok. Children who are sexually abused often times do not reach out for help because they feel ashamed or are threatened.'
Read More > http://www.reclaim13.org/
or click here for information on the National Human Trafficking Hotline
"It’s incredibly important to me that we talk about these things," said event organizer, Diana Piedra.
The event was hosted by Alive Center in Naperville that provides free drop in care from 3-6pm (6th grade and up). There are an array of activities for them to find what makes them come alive: Games, Mentoring, Girls club, Life Skills, Science exploration, tutoring, Teen Led Teen Driven and more.
Check out some events coming up at Alive Center:
Professor of International Human Rights and US Congressional Candidate:
"I want to thank Diana [Piedra] and the Alive Center for inviting us here tonight.
I’m grateful to be in a space that values peace, collaboration and the philosophies associated with a human rights movement.
I’ve had a busy yet peculiar day: It started at 8am as I participated in something called a Polar Plunge. This entails jumping into lake Michigan in the midde of winter. I was informed this would be fun and exilerating. I may have been misinformed, as I am fairly certain that I am exhibiting symptoms of hypothermia.
This afternoon I received a call from a friend that is a White House correspondence and he began asking me questions about Russians infiltrating the White House, an Attorney General and National Security Advisor resigning after only a few weeks of an administration, and other topics that I never imagined we would ever witness.
So, again, I’m happy to be here in this safe space, with no cold water, no Russians. I prefer just talking about peace.
In discussing human rights, its important to remember that the topic is rarely uplifting. We often discuss it from academic or scholastic perspectives, which can be oftentimes misleading. So its important to frame my experience with security and human rights as one of experience and service.
I was recruited by the FBI while still in college and worked for years within the CT and CI national security squads. During this time, I saw my first mass casualty incident and began to quickly understand the reality and fragility of human life.
I then transferred to the State Department as a diplomat as which I became a security and human rights attaché, working in over 65 countries. I lived in North and West Africa, the Middle east, served in Iraq multiple times, was assigned to the UN, INTERPOL and worked on Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s personal staff. I have proudly served three presidents and four secretaries of state.
Human rights courses take months to discuss, understand and synthesize all aspects of the law, diplomacy, anthropology, psychology and of course international affairs. We only have a few minutes.
So I’ll discuss three main points that I think are relevant today.
1. Human Rights are an inconvenience. They are seen as inconvenient to progress by governments, corporations, or organizations. They are seen as obstacles and only valued by a small portion of citizens, who are often the victims, the marginalized or the forgotten. It is up to us, as to remind our governments and our communities that human rights confer the very basic dignity and respect that all humans deserve.
2. Human Rights, much like life, all depend of perspective. A very well known CIA agent that worked counterterrorism recently retired and was asked to sum up her career in one sentence. She stated the following: Everybody thinks they are the good guys. We all think we are doing the right thing from our own perspective. Governments, groups and even individuals all have the same forward notion that they and they alone are correct in their words, actions and thoughts. We must ensure that in these actions, we are always protecting and defending each and every person’s basic human rights as detailed and ratified in the United Nations Declaration of Human rights.
3. In our current political climate, people often ask me, Benjamin what can we do? We feel afraid, powerless and confused. I explain that they are more powerful than they know. As president Obama stated, the most powerful positions is not that of president, but that of citizen. Talk to your family, your neighbors, and your friends. Having events like this (right here) can change peoples minds, can open their hearts. Most of all, continue to demand more of your elected officials. Vote and vote for those that appreciate people, not corporations. Our campaign is being based on equality, peace and education. These are the three most basic tenants of human existence and we will continue to maintain a world view that is rooted in compassion.
We thank you very much for inviting us to be here with you tonight.
We will stay as long as we can and I hope to meet you all and answer any questions."
Learn More About Benjamin Wolf> https://www.wolfforcongress.org/