Tag Archives: Human Rights

21 Facts for the 21st Annual World Water Day

This past Saturday, March 22nd, marked the 21st annual World Water Day.  What is World Water Day, you ask? World Water Day has been held annually on March 22nd since 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly designated the day as the first World Water Day.  World Water Day is an opportunity to focus on the importance of access to freshwater for everyone on the planet and to highlight the millions of people living without access to clean water around the globe.  This year’s World Water Day focused on the intersection of water and energy, and the crucial impacts both have on alleviating poverty worldwide. Read more…

International Religious Freedom: Learning from Esther

Hamentaschen, costumes and mishloach manot, oh my!  We are just a few days away from celebrating the holiday of Purim, which means gathering in our synagogues for Purim schpiels and carnivals.  Purim is a fun holiday for kids and grown-ups alike, and connects to many of the social justice themes we care about as Reform Jews, including the death penalty, women’s rights and anti-Semitism.  Another social justice value that is ever-present in the story of Purim is the importance of religious freedom. Read more…

Barbara Weinstein

CSA Director Barbara Weinstein Testifies in Support of New EPA Carbon Pollution Standards

Barbara Weinstein: “These proposed standards reflect our nation’s commitment to combating climate change, which is not just an environmental challenge, but one of the greatest social justice challenges of our time.”

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 6, 2014—In September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed strict limits to carbon emissions from new power plants. Speaking today at the EPA public hearing on the Carbon Pollution Standards, Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and the Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, submitted the following testimony:

I’m Barbara Weinstein, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, which advocates on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 900 congregations across North America include 1.3 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2000 Reform rabbis. Thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the EPA’s proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for new power plants. These proposed standards reflect our nation’s commitment to combating climate change, which is not just an environmental challenge, but one of the greatest social justice challenges of our time. Read more…

National Freedom Day

February 1st is National Freedom Day, an opportunity to reflect on the travesty that is human trafficking, as well as a time to rededicate ourselves to expunging this widespread violation of human rights and dignity. On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment into law – the constitutional amendment that ended slavery in the United States. National Freedom Day concludes the month of January, which was proclaimed as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and this date also aligns with the Super Bowl – the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States each year.

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Justice Everywhere: The Fight for International LGBT Equality

After celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. yesterday, a poignant quote of his rings in my ears: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” While we continue to fight for the civil rights and equality of all people in our own country, we cannot turn a blind eye to our global community and the human rights denied to those outside of the United States.

Last week, the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which criminalizes same-sex marriage and relationships. Under this new law, Nigerian gay and lesbians could face up to 14 years in prison for engagement in same-sex relations and even the guests of same-sex ceremonies could be jailed for 10 years.  Further, anyone operating or participating in gay clubs, societies and organizations is liable to 10 years of imprisonment. Read more…

African Migrants Protest at Embassies in Israel

Last week, thousands of African migrants living in Israel protested Israel’s detention policies outside several embassies, including the United States, France, Italy, Great Britain, Canada and Germany.  Some 60,000 migrants, largely from Eritrea and Sudan, have entered Israel since 2005. These protests come after several developments in both the Israeli Supreme Court and the Israeli Knesset regarding the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.  Read more…

Emily Rothstein

Introducing the Nothing But Nets Malaria Fellows!

Last week, the RAC and Nothing But Nets kicked off our semester long Malaria Fellowship (in partnership with the United Nations Foundation) for undergraduate students. We searched the country far and wide for the best candidates and narrowed it down to these ten students. Fellows are already busy building out their core group of students and generating interest on campus to help save lives from malaria through advocacy and fundraising this semester.

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soldiers, Guantanamo, security

12 Years a Detainee

Tomorrow, January 11th, marks the 12th anniversary of the first arrival of detainees at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. At that juncture, the United States was still reeling from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; for over a decade Guantanamo (Gitmo), has been a black mark on the reputation of the United States around the world.

Why? Because at Guantanamo, men who have been captured by the U.S. government are held, often without a trial, awaiting their fate. Many detainees participate in hunger strikes, protesting the conditions of the detention center, and their treatment. In December, the Department of Defense announced that it would no longer release the number of prisoners striking – a problematic development as those figures are important as a representation of what is happening at the center in Cuba.

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