A Night to Remember: HRW Voices for Justice Dinner 2017

Photos by Maya Myers and Kristin Ghazarians

November 14, 2017: In an inspiring night celebrating the defense of human rights, Student Task Force leaders, teachers and special guests gathered at the 2017 Human Rights Watch Voices for Justice Dinner. During STF’s personal meeting with HRW Emergencies Director Peter Bouckaert and Programs Director Iain Levine, attendees learned how Peter and Iain came to be human rights advocates and they shared stories from the field. Following their encouragement, students gathered petition signatures from dinner guests, asking Congressional leaders to support a bipartisan, clean DREAM Act, while other STFers heard updates on Joshua Wong from “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” director Joe Piscatella.

STF concluded their reception with the presentation of the first-ever STF Human Rights Defender Award to Alex Alpharaoh, DACA recipient and spoken word artist who has worked closely with STF to protect the human rights of DACA recipients. Participants thanked Alex for his courage to tell his personal story so publicly, and for making the time in his life to share what it means to grow up as an undocumented American.

During the dinner, HRW researchers spoke of their work in the Philippines, Burma and the United States, while Serj Tankian (System of A Down) presented the first Promise Award to the late Chris Cornell for his song “The Promise” and connecting the Armenian Genocide with current human rights issues. Chris Cornell’s widow accepted the award on his behalf, and Ryan Tedder and Drew Brown of OneRepublic performed the song.

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