The Lipman Fellows are hanging out with us for a couple of days to help brainstorm one of our future programs.
It’s great to have them join the Breakthrough Generation!
We are a global human rights organization working to make violence and discrimination against women unacceptable. Our cutting-edge multimedia campaigns, community mobilization, agenda-setting, and leadership training equip men and women worldwide to challenge the status quo and take bold action for the dignity, equality, and justice of all.
LGBTQ* News You Should Know About
Today, February 24th, 2014, Uganda’s President Museveni signed an anti-gay bill into law. This laws makes homosexual (first offense) acts punishable by 14 years in prison. Individuals who are found guilty for having continuous homosexual sexual experiences (between consenting adults) can face life in prison.
Read More HERE
Above comic from the Center of Constitutional Rights, presenting “The Case Against Scott Lively.” Lively is an anti-gay pastor who is being sued in the United States for human rights abuse in Uganda.
The comic artist is Andy Warner, who’s Tumblr can be found HERE.
Time has passed so quickly! I wrote my first post for Breakthrough in May of 2013 in the midst of our Deport the Statue campaign. I had just graduated college, unsure of what I wanted to do, but was excited to be a part of this organization I had seen in different human rights circles doing really cool videos and campaigns online.
Seven months later I am getting ready to leave this incredible organization to join the Peace Corps. I am thrilled to take this next step in my life, but I cannot believe I have to leave this incredible place in the mean time.
Breakthrough taught me so many things and has, cliche as it is, helped me figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have had the opportunity to work with smart, savvy, committed, and funny people who are committed to changing the world for good. My time here has convinced me that if anyone can do it, it’s Breakthough.
I have learned about social media, metrics, press, NGOs, culture… it goes on and on. The most important things I learned were intangible. I learned about values and theory. I have learned how to work to make change, online and off. I have learned about the incredible people driven to make in this world and have been fortunate enough to learn from them.
I cannot say thank you enough to all of my mentors and friends here. I have found a great group of people to always look up to and learn from. Now I am proud to be an academic and an activist. I am so much stronger in my beliefs and abilities now, and am ready to take on the world. Thank you all for helping me get here, and for giving me so much.
(PS: If anyone is looking here to find out what Breakthrough is about, or if they want to be a part of it… do it. You will be so glad you did.)
What is YOUR path for human rights? Today we got together to tell (and draw!) our stories about how we got to working on human rights, and where we hope to go in the future.
I love doing activities like this. We all got to learn something about each other, and discovered how we all got to be at the same place now. There were about as many similarities as there are differences, and I think we all learned a lot about each other.
Human rights and social justice work is certainly not the easiest thing to do. I think we have all experienced a lot of the tough work and feeling of disillusionment that comes with it. This small activity is a great way for all of us to see that change is possible, even just starting within ourselves, and that we are all in this work together.
Photographer Stephanie Sinclair spent nearly a decade documenting the harmful repercussions of child marriage, from self-immolation to trafficking and rape. In India, home to the highest absolute number of child brides in the world, she witnessed secret wedding ceremonies for girls as young as five years old. Sinclair’s journalistic investigation culminated in her creation of a full-blown campaign to educate and inform to end child marriage around the world.
Sinclair recently returned to Rajasthan, India, where change has begun. She met young girls—and boys—who had taken a stand against their own parents and refused to be married, choosing instead to stay in school. In between making images with her regular camera, Sinclair snapped the candid portraits shown here with her mobile phone. (via Celebrating the Courage of Children in Rajasthan | PROOF)
Too young to wed by Stephanie Sinclair
Early marriage is an incredibly harmful practice. Between 2011 and 2020, if current rates hold, more than 140 million girls will marry before age 18. That translates to 14.2 million girls annually — or 39,000 every day. Of these, 50 million will be under the age of 15. These photos beautifully depict the strength and joy of these young people who have been able to take a stand. However this luxury is not present for all, and changes need to take place on the community level to make greater changes for young people everywhere.
In August 2013, Breakthrough launched its Nation Against Early Marriage campaign in order to make a difference in this issue. Breakthrough believes that through national mass media, street theater, community engagement, youth leadership training, and more, we can raise awareness of the consequences of early marriage and build cultural support for ending the practice. The campaign will train young people — especially men and boys — to stand as human rights leaders and agents of change, helping create the cultural norms and conditions that can support alternatives to early marriage.
Join us in our campaign against early marriage!
Syrian Refugees in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon | September 2013
The days are long at the al-Faour settlement in Lebanon. Women draw on cigarettes to help pass the time, their faces haggard and sunburned. Children play outside their tents in bright, ragged clothes and worn-out shoes. Lebanon, a tiny country of about 4.5 million, now officially hosts more than 700,000 registered refugees. There are likely many more. At al-Faour in eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, about 200 refugees live together in tents pitched near the Syrian border. They offer no protection from Lebanon’s sizzling summers and its freezing winters. There is barely any running water and no electricity.
Photos taken by Associated Press photographer Nariman El-Mofty
Did you know that an estimated 80% of refugees are women and children? Besides the incredible challenge of being driven from their homes, refugee women and children face even more hurdles. Sexual and gender based violence are very real and present dangers. Basic needs like shelter, food, and water can be difficult for women to obtain due to poor, unsafe, on non-existent distribution. Girls are sometimes barred from education due to cultural or economic factors despite it being a human right for all,
Recently UN Women has ordered, “states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are obliged to uphold women’s rights when they are involved in fighting, and when they are providing peacekeeping troops or donor assistance for conflict prevention, humanitarian aid or post-conflict reconstruction.” This would be a huge asset to women and girls displaced by conflict who make up a large portion of refugees. These international bodies only work with support from people and nations, so help bring some awareness to this important issue!
Our awesome multimedia team members Dana & Ishita led a workshop on using creative tools for strategic engagement at 2013 People’s Global Action on Migration, Development & Human Rights (PGA), an independent civil society and grassroots people’s event held in conjunction with the 2013 UN High Level Dialogue on Migration & Development (HLD).
The workshop was, of course, fun! Check out the photos.
Pakistani workers from NGOs perform during an anti-rape protest in Lahore on September 14, 2013. Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images
Reading up on the horrific news about the rape of a 5 year old girl in Lahore, Pakistan, I came across this really interesting photograph at the top of an article. Having spent the earlier half of my life in Pakistan, I have seen many rallies about different issues, many of which lead to destruction of other people’s private properties, burning and looting of shops, breaking car windows and burning effigies or tires on main roads.
This is the first time I have seen an element of creative theatrical performance as a way to protest physical and sexual violence against women and girls. I think part of the reason is that people in that region are very much tired of seeing violence in daily lives, and so they adopt more and more peaceful means of protesting. Another more interesting part is that the demographics of politically engaged people are changing. Unlike 10-12 years ago, more urban, middle and upper class youth are becoming politically and socially active now.
I believe that is a good sign, because it means a whole generation of people that was perviously detached from social and political change is now engaged. There is more pressure on the old structures, politicians, political parties and rulers to listen to younger (and fresher) perspectives. It means that there is hope for change, and perhaps a more peaceful future.
“Evi has been living at Bina Lestari Foundation for more than two years. She was fifteen when she began to first experience hallucinations. Her family pays for her platform bed and for the Islamic based spiritual approach to healing.” Read more at Lightbox from Time.com.
This photo comes from a photo essay on Indonesia’s mental health facilities. The images are stark and heart-wrenching. Because of stigmas associated with mental illness, poverty, and a lack of availability of quality care lead to people being chained up or locked away, with little clothing or care. Traditional healing and shamans remain the most popular method for caring for mental illness because of its lower cost and the absence of a stigma about being under a spell or possessed.
Stigmas against mental health issues are found world wide and when not addressed or seen as important and necessary to treat, people become victims of violence, neglect, and pain. We all need to work to combat these norms and stigmas that hurt so many people, and making issues surrounding mental health more visible is one way to do this. Photography has been, and will continue to be, an incredible tool in telling the story of human rights abuses and moving people to make change.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights makes no specific mention of mental health as an axis of discrimination, but it clearly should.
We have our own scarves!
Artist Chetna Singh designed a scarf inspired by our Ring the Bell campaign. Today, the scarves were featured during New York NOLCHA fashion week. Chetna’s hope is to make violence against women unacceptable. The scarves include promises from men all over the world to help end violence against women.
Proceeds from purchases of the scarf helps Breakthrough so please check it out!
That’s Chetna and Tierney at fashion week checking out the fantastic scarf!