SKYLIGHT’S 2017 HUMAN RIGHTS CHAMPIONS LIST

The Skylight team has created this list that includes some of our favorite organizations, individuals, and movements that served as an inspiration to us in 2017. We were inspired by their determination to end injustices by fighting for their rights and the rights of others. These individuals and organizations represent the diverse ways in which we can #resist and work together to strengthen and fight to protect human rights.

#HumanRightsDay #ResistanceSaga #StandUp4HumanRights

SKYLIGHT’S 2017 HUMAN RIGHTS CHAMPIONS LIST

“Auntie Maxine” aka. Congresswoman Maxine Waters

#BlackGirlMagic #ReclaimingMyTime

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Bresha Meadows & Cyntoia BrownBoth young Black girls were victims of sexual and physical assault and killed men they feared.

freebreshaIn 2016 Bresha killed her father, who had a history of physically abusing her, her mother and siblings. After threats of being tried as an adult, public pressure forced the prosecution to try her as a juvenile. Bresha took a plea deal resulting in a six month mental health facility sentence (she had about 10 months in a juvenile detention center prior to her plea deal). Learn more: FreeBresha & BlackYouthProject.

cintoiaCyntoia has served a decade into her life in prison sentence. After being forced into prostitution, she shot/killed a 43 year-old man who tried to have sex with her when she was 16. Her claims of self defense and being fearful for her life led to her being charged as an adult and receiving a life sentence, she won’t be eligible for parole until she’s 68.  Learn more: Injustice Today & The Grio

Brown Paper Bag Movement is a New York City grassroots movement aimed at feeding and clothing the homeless of our city.

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Bryan Stevenson – Equal Justice Institute, criminal justice reform –  is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.  Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned.

Colin Kaepernick for his mission to fight oppression of all kinds globally, through education and social activism.

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El Puente –   Grounded in a holistic approach to leadership development for young people and their families, El Puente bridges the worlds of health, education, and the arts with activism and community empowerment.

Gavin Grimm. Even though the Supreme Court decided not to hear his case, his story represented the discrimination faced by many trans students across the nation and highlighted just one of many institutional inequalities that hinder the protection of trans people in this country. Learn more here.

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If Not Now Movement – is building a vibrant and inclusive movement within the American Jewish community, across generations and organizational affiliations. This movement is open to any who seek to shift the American Jewish public away from the status quo that upholds the occupation.

Make the Road New York builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services.

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National Bail Out Campaign – the campaign’s coalition raised funds and gained international attention after bailing out Black mothers on Mother’s Day. They’ve not only bailed out over 200 people over a span of 3 months in over 13 cities, but have also provided folks with housing, mental health support, and treatment support following their incarceration. Their work upholds the notion money bails are a form of state violence and that freedom should not only be granted to those whom can “afford” it, but that it’s a right that we all should have and protect. (Learn more here & here)

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Photo by Shutterstock

Red Tz’ikin – a group of young filmmakers and social communicators who have formed a country-wide network in Guatemala to produce, distribute and train storytellers in audio visual language. They work mainly in indigenous communities but any and all are welcome, strengthening the rural Mayan and urban dwellers’ alliance. They also create a fresh, vibrant television show called Tz’iking TeVé carried on the internet and on cable stations, giving new meaning to the concept of resistance.


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Rev. Liz Theoharis & Bishop William Barber / Co-Chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival – A National Call for Moral Revival is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality.

Stand With Standing Rock – The Oceti Sakowin Camp is a historic gathering of tribes standing in solidarity to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline.  #NoDAPL #StandWithStandingRock #WaterisLife

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Ta Nehisi Coatesfor his deep insights into the history of race relations in this country and his analysis of structural racism, which have helped achieve a broader understanding of our rights. Learn more here.

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The Team at the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala  (FAFG) who have never given up on searching for the murdered people who disappeared during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict. The FAFG believe that forensic science has become the key instrument to recover historical memory, clarify the truth, provide elements for justice, combat impunity and build peace.  

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VOCAL. Is a statewide grassroots membership organization building power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration, along with the organizations that serve us, to create healthy and just communities. We accomplish this through community organizing, leadership development, public education, direct services, participatory research and direct action.

Women’s March – The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change.

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Ximena Amescua Cuenca
ximena@skylight.is
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