STF Tool Kits: 2009-2010

STF Events: 2009-2010

Pali STF Hosts Juvenile Justice Performance and Panel

Photos by Christina Tajalli

May 26, 2010: Palisades STF hosted a compelling assembly that featured juvenile justice advocates Javier Stauring, Rabbi Steven Carr Reuben, Hilda Garcia and Rita Chairez. Hilda and Rita presented their real-life experiences as different types of victims of juvenile crime. Two of Rita’s brothers were murdered, and Hilda’s son was sentenced to 35 years to life for a crime he did not commit. The two women showed that every crime has a rippling effect. Rabbi Reuben and Javier joined the women in a panel to answer thought-provoking questions from Palisades students.

STF Gains Support of CA Assembly Member Julia Brownley on SB 399

Photos by Rich Schmitt

May 21, 2010: Representatives from four STF chapters gathered at Palisades Charter HS to discuss the Fair Sentences for Youth Act (SB 399) and the future of public education with Assembly Member Julia Brownley. Brownley enthusiastically announced her support for SB 399 and said she looks forward to collaborating to ensure justice for youth offenders in California.

Oakwood STF Meets with CA Assembly Member Mike Feuer

May 21, 2010: Oakwood STF discussed the Fair Sentences for Youth Act (SB 399) with Assembly Member Mike Feuer. The delegation passionately spoke about the importance of ensuring justice for youth in California. Assembly member Feuer engaged the students in a challenging and rewarding discussion of the legislation’s specifics, but did not commit to his position on SB 399.

Photo by Christina Tajalli

STF Meets with Assembly Member Mike Davis

May 14, 2010: STF leaders and Inside Out Writers Alumni joined forces to advocate for the Fair Sentences for Youth Act (SB 399) with Senior Field Representative Joan Scott. The delegation spoke passionately about the issue of life without parole for juveniles and their experiences as human rights activists. Ms. Scott noted the importance of preventing crime with extracurricular activities and observing basic human rights for all people, including juvenile offenders.

Photo by Christina Tajalli

Santa Monica City Council Adopts the Convention on the Rights of the Child

May 11, 2010: STF leaders discussed the importance of US ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child with the Santa Monica City Council. After students passionately spoke on the subject, the Council unanimously voted yes to adopting the CRC in Santa Monica thus proclaiming its commitment to protecting children’s rights in Santa Monica and beyond.

Read the Resolution and see press about the presentation

Photo by Pam Bruns

Canyon & Valencia STF discuss CRC at Santa Clarita City Council

Photo by Nancy Nazarian Medina

April 27, 2010: Students from Canyon and Valencia STF asked the Santa Clarity City Council to adopt the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in order to improve the protection of children in the area. The delegation passionately spoke about their experiences as children’s rights activists and encourage the Council to join Los Angeles and other cities in showing the U.S. that children’s rights count.

Download PDF of Resolution


Carson Talent Show

April 23, 2010: Carson STF collaborated with other student organizations to host an evening of advocacy and entertainment with their 3rd Annual Co-Op Talent Show. STF wrote and directed a dialogue based on a real testimonial of a currently incarcerated youth. The group also gathered signatures on letters in support of the Fair Sentences for Youth Act (SB 399) and answered questions regarding the legislation.

Santa Clarita Valley Art & Essay Contest Awards Night

Photos by Nancy Nazarian-Medina

April 22, 2010: Canyon and Valencia STF celebrated the writing and art of their peers at the “Human Rights for All Children” Awards Night on Thursday, April 22. There were 91 entries on display Thursday night which are now available as part of a traveling art exhibit on children’s rights to local schools. The evening included STF student presentations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and juvenile justice reform in California.

Los Angeles City Council Adopts the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Photos by Maya Myers

March 19, 2010: STF student delegates addressed the LA City Council regarding the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and urged the Council to pass a resolution sponsored by Council Members Garcetti and Rosendahl to adopt the CRC. The Council unanimously voted yes! The City of Los Angeles has pledged to uphold the principles of the CRC in order to promote and protect children’s rights across the city.

To view and hear STF presentations  and comments from Council Members Garcetti, Rosendahl, and Cardenas please click here and fast forward to 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Download PDF of the Resolution.

Santa Monica High School STF presents Jammin’ for Justice

Photos by Patricia Williams

March 19, 2010: SAMO STF hosted an evening of music and juvenile justice advocacy for students, parents, and teachers. Jammin’ for Justice featured guest speakers from Inside Out Writers who shared their personal experiences with the juvenile justice system in California. The evening culminated in a poem on juvenile justice by Reggie Pascual and an original song that honors HRW and discusses the Fair Sentences for Youth Act (SB 399) by Jason Pitt.

My Name is Ray, poem by Reggie Pascual

Download MP3: Human Rights Watch Bossa Nova. Composed by Jason Pitts


CA State Assembly Member Furutani Meeting

Photo by Christina Tajalli

March 9, 2010: Carson High School STF met with District Director Derrick Mims to thank Assembly Member Warren Furutani for his passionate support of the Fair Sentences for Youth Act (SB 399). The students engaged in a thorough discussion of the legislation and how to reach a broader population with juvenile justice advocacy. Carson STF leaders gave Mr. Mims over 200 signatures of support and thanks from students and members of the Carson community.


STF Leaders Meeting

Photos by Patricia Williams

February 24, 2010: Student Task Force leaders were fortunate to meet with special guests to deepen their understanding of juvenile justice issues. Collaborating with the organization Inside Out Writers, formerly incarcerated youth and STF students discussed the Fair Sentences for Youth Act (SB 399) and effective strategies for advocating for the bill. Students also reflected on their experiences advocating for SB 399 during State-wide Juvenile Justice Week and planned for future events.

State-Wide Juvenile Justice Week Advocacy Projects

February 15-19, 2010: For Juvenile Justice Week, the Student Task Force educated their schools on the life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) sentencing for juveniles. Some students took on the persona of a formerly incarcerated youth by wearing nametags that listed the name of a juvenile offender and sharing his or her story with fellow students. Crossroads STF created an art installation using 260 balloons to signify the number of youth currently serving the J-LWOP sentence in CA prisons, while Palisades HS STF created a prison cell on campus to show students the “living space” of life in prison. Throughout their events, students gathered signatures to letters urging their Assembly Members to support Fair Sentences for Youth Act (SB 399).

Photo by Hani Tasjar

Jazz for Justice

Photos by Patricia Williams

January 30, 2010: STF students from nine schools, teachers, parents, and supporters gathered at Wildwood School for a celebratory evening of juvenile justice advocacy. While enjoying an El Cholo taco bar, guests were serenaded by STF musicians while taking a look at the past 10 years of STF activism. The evening touched on human rights around the world and focused on human rights at home with a featured presentation by justice activist Javier Stauring and formerly incarcerated youth, Elias Elizondo. Students discussed how to effectively garner support for the Fair Sentences for Youth Act. The evening closed with a bon voyage for STF Intern Chris Price, as he departs for Zambia to participate in the Peace Corps.

CARE Act (HR 3564) Advocacy

December 7-16, 2009: Student Task Force members engaged in rapid response advocacy regarding the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE Act). The CARE Act would ensure that children working in agriculture receive the same child labor protections as children working in other jobs. Considering the time-sensitive nature of the legislation, students swiftly educated themselves and gathered signatures for letters asking Representatives Harman, McKeon, Waxman, and Richardson to co-sponsor the legislation. A student delegation also met with Congressman Waxman’s office to deliver letters and discuss the importance of the CARE Act in protecting the rights of child farmworkers.

Signal Article about Canyon STF’s Visit to Representative McKeon’s Office

Photo by Romano

Crossroads Juvenile Justice Assembly

Photos by Gabriel Barreras

December 11, 2009: Crossroads SOUL hosted a juvenile justice assembly with presentations by Javier Stauring, Fernando Montes-Rodriguez, and Edwin Rivas. Javier discussed the sentencing of juveniles to life without the possibility of parole by sharing stories of juvenile offenders and explaining the CA legal system. Fernando Montes-Rodriguez and Edin Rivas noted the importance of education in reforming juvenile offenders. They noted the lack of opportunity as an influential factor in juvenile crime. Crossroads students were able to pledge their support for the Fair Sentencing for Youth Act SB 399 by signing letters to Assembly Member Brownley.


Senator Barbara Boxer Meeting

Photo by Christina Tajalli

November 20, 2009: To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a delegation of STF students from Pali, Crossroads, New Roads, and UCI visited Senator Boxer’s office to present over 3,000 signatures on letters of support to Senator Boxer. The students described various advocacy events STF has hosted for the CRC, stressed the importance of US ratification, and asked for advice on how to move forward in this campaign. Field Representative Juan Camacho was very helpful in answering questions and providing guidance for future efforts.

View STF Letter to Senator Boxer

Carson Die-In

Photos by Gabriel Barreras

November 20, 2009: On the 20th Anniversary of the CRC, Carson STF students collaborated with other student groups to stage a die-in during lunch. After an announcement that read “I died because of children’s rights violations,” all of the Die-In participants dropped to the floor in unison. Upon rising, each student read aloud what children’s rights violation they had suffered. Carson STF presidents closed the event by introducing the CRC to students and explaining the importance of US ratification.

Juvenile Justice Briefing, Pepperdine University

November 18, 2009: Javier Stauring and Elias, a formerly incarcerated youth, spoke to Pepperdine students about the need to revolutionize the juvenile justice system. From Elisas’ discussing his experiences, students were able to apply a human face to a human rights issue here in California. Javier discussed the details of the juvenile justice system and graciously answered students’ thoughtful questions.

More on Javier’s work

Photo by Patricia Williams

New Roads Die-In

Photos by Christina Tajalli

November 18, 2009: New Roads STF hosted a Die-In to attract students’ attention to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. By lying on the quad during lunch, New Roads students demonstrated the vast variety of children’s rights violations that kill children every day. The students followed this event with a presentation on the CRC and asked for signatures of support for Senator Boxer and Secretary Clinton.

Voices for Justice: HRW Annual Dinner

Photos by Maya Myers

November 17, 2009: STF infused the HRW Annual Dinner with art work by Brooke Greenberg (Pali STF) and live jazz music by Steven Gordon (SAMO STF).  STF students met this year’s honorees Elena Milashina and Daniel Bekele and discussed student activism in their own countries among other topics. STF also asked HRW guests to sign letters to Senator Boxer and Secretary of State Clinton urging U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The dinner, emceed by Morgan Freeman, was filled with inspiring stories and updates from Human Rights Watch researchers.

Wildwood School STF Die-In for the CRC

Photo by Christina Tajalli

November 16, 2009: Continuing their campaign to ratify the CRC, Wildwood School STF hosted a Die-In during their school’s weekly assembly.  The STF lined the school’s halls with cut-outs of bodies and they also lay down in the assembly space with signs attached to themselves stating what human rights violation they had suffered.  By raising awareness to the many different ways in which children can be victims of human rights violations, the students underscored the importance of ratifying the CRC and helped their peers understand the significance of sending letters to Secretary of State Clinton and Senator Boxer.



University of California Efforts

November 16-20, 2009: Three branches of the University of California participated in gathering signatures and raising awareness about the CRC. UC Irvine made presentations to Jumpstart that focused on the CRC’s articles on the right to education. UC Los Angeles discussed the CRC with various student organizations and the Greek system. UC Santa Barbara’s Human Rights Group distributed the letters to various human rights groups in Santa Barbara.

Crossroads Classroom Presentations & Tabling

Photo by Christina Tajalli

November 16-20, 2009: Crossroads students reached out to the student body and the community by making classroom presentations and hosting tabling during lunch. Crossroads STF students discussed the importance of US ratification and answered tough questions regarding the current status of the CRC.

Palisades Charter High School Art Campaign

November 16-20, 2009: Pali STF launched an art campaign that included t-shirts and banners. They made classroom presentations on the importance of US ratification of the CRC and tabled during lunch. Students also made PA announcements with a different children’s rights every morning to promote their events.

More banners in the Toolkit

Photo by Brook Greenberg

Canyon Classroom Presentations & Tabling

Photos by Nancy Nazarian Medina

November 16-20, 2009: On Monday, STF students gathered signatures from the school’s administrators and teachers. The students then made classroom presentations where they described the CRC and gathered signatures of support. On Friday, the students tabled during lunch as several STF members walked around the campus collecting signatures. Each student who signs during the lunch activity received a sticker that says, “I signed in support of the CRC today! Children count!”

Press coverage of the event


Pepperdine University Human Rights Coffee House

Photos by Christina Tajalli

November 13, 2009: Pepperdine University’s International Justice Mission hosted a Human Rights Coffee House featuring musicians and artists performing pieces related to human trafficking, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, poverty, and oppression. Pepperdine students were able to have a personal connection with human rights issues by experiencing these performances. HRW STF participated in the event, providing students with information on the CRC and gathering signatures for letters to Senator Boxer and Secretary State Clinton urging action.




Oakwood School STF Camp Darfur

Photo by Gabriel Barreras

November 11, 2009: Our newest STF chapter, Oakwood School in North Hollywood, hosted Camp Darfur for their fellow students, teachers and parents. Oakwood students were able to tour 8 tents including the Patchwork Tent, which featured art from children in Sudan, and the Action tent, which had information and petitions urging ratification of the CRC. Long-time STF partners Gabriel Stauring and Katie-Jay gave presentations on the current situation in Darfur, which featured 3 short films giving the humanitarian crisis a very human face.


Carson STF “Mix-It-Up”

Photo by Gabriel Barreras

November 10, 2009: In collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club, Carson STF educated their school on the importance of U.S. ratification of the CRC on Tuesday, November 10. With student DJ’s blasting music in the background, Carson STF established a strong presence during lunch by tabling and trickling into the crowds to get signatures for our letters to Senator Boxer and Secretary Clinton.


Special STF Briefing at Wildwood School with Peter Bouckaert

Photos by Patricia Williams

September 24, 2009: Peter directs the Human Rights Watch Emergencies team’s response to crisis and emerging conflicts. He dispatches specially trained investigators to conflict zones to cut through the fog of war and document violations of human rights and humanitarian law. The Emergencies team is often first on the ground to speak to witnesses, expose abuses, and focus international attention on those responsible. This response can protect people caught in the crossfire and often prevent further suffering.



Die-In held by Canyon STF, in the William S. Hart Union HS District

Photos by Nancy Nazarian Medina

September 22, 2009: Canyon STF created awareness of children’s rights violations around the world by staging a Die-In.  Students lay on campus with signs that signified different ways to die from these violations: “I died of AIDS”, “I died as a child soldier”, “I died of a preventable disease”, etc.  The event garnered attention from the student body and STF students were able to begin educating their peers about the urgent need to protect children’s rights.

STF Annual Leadership Workshop

Photos by Patricia Williams

September 12, 2009: STF leaders from eight schools met at Mount St. Mary’s College and were introduced to the national Campaign for U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and discussed possible advocacy.  Elizabeth Calvin, HRW Children’s Rights Division, reported on the abuse of children’s rights in CA and LA.

For more information on juvenile justice issues:


Human Rights Education Workshop

The HRW STF organized a Human Rights Education Workshop, in collaboration with Mount St. Mary’s College, on August 6 and 7. Featured presenters included former STF members Ginny Smith and Amy Calfas and STF Teacher Advisors Angelica Pereyra, Sandra Martin and Tassie Hadlock-Piltz.

Presentations by Ginny Smith and Amy Calfas

(Click to watch, 18:07)

STF Teacher Advisors Ms. Pereyra, Martin and Hadlock-Piltz presentations

(Click to watch, 32:04)

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