“Picture Human Rights” National Contest

The Human Rights Watch Student Task Force has teamed up with HRE USA to announce the 2018 Picture Human Rights Poster Contest. Artists from ages 5 to 21 are invited to participate. To help you get started, HRE USA has created the Picture Human Rights Resource Kit with ideas on how you can learn more about the UDHR and celebrate it in your own community…

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Advocating for Our Community

With too many human rights at risk in the U.S., STFers have been advocating to protect their communities. This past fall, STFers defended the human rights of DACA recipients with the help of spoken word artist and DACA recipient, Alex Alpharaoh. Following the Parkland, FL school shooting in February, STFers planned and/or participated in national walkouts, die-ins, and preregistered nearly a thousand future high school student voters. Read more about this dynamic year of advocacy in the 2017-18 STF Year in Review.

We included updates from our wonderful STF student and intern alumni. Stay updated with our STF alumni on our STF Alumni page online and in print version of the STF Year in Review.

Thank you for your dedication to human rights advocacy and have a great summer!
STF Team: Pam, Nancy, Kristin, Lizbeth, Ella, Sydney, Lissette, Lalise, Drew and Charlie

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Facebook Live on “Zero Tolerance” Family Separations

June 19, 2018: We urge you to watch this Facebook Live discussion with HRW Children’s Rights Division Mike Garcia Bochenek, who has just returned from McAllen, Texas, where he visited a Border Patrol detention center. Mike spoke about the conditions he saw, the people he met, and the trauma children can suffer from being separated from their parents. Watch to learn more.

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Giving Passion A Strategy

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April 24, 2018: Surrounded by posters and art from their year of human rights advocacy, 50 current and rising STF leaders, teachers and guests celebrated their efforts to protect the human rights of DACA recipients, calling for school safety and an end to gun violence, and raising awareness about the possible genocide against the Rohingya in Burma at the STF Year-End Leadership Workshop…

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Join Us on May 1, 2018 for “ANITA: Speaking Truth to Power”

Join us for a special screening of ANITA, followed by a Q&A with Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock.

On October 11, 1991, a poised young law professor sent shock waves through the nation as she sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee intrepidly testifying to the lewd behavior of a Supreme Court nominee.

In the midst of the #MeToo movement, the Film Club revisits Academy Award winner Freida Lee Mock’s ANITA, which crystallizes the sexist power dynamics in the room that day and unravels the impact of that lightning-rod moment on Anita Hill’s life and the broader discussion of gender inequality in America.

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Harvard-Westlake STF Connects DACA and Music

March 19, 2018, The Chronicle (Harvard-Westlake School’s online student newspaper): The Human Rights Watch Student Task Force hosted the American Youth Symphony Orchestra to facilitate conversations about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and immigration in Ahmanson Lecture Hall on Monday…

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STFers Say #Enough!

March 14, 2018: STFers walked out, held moments of silence, remembered the 17 victims from Stoneman Douglas HS, spoke up for their human rights to safety and education, demanded protection from gun violence, registered voters and signed letters and petitions to legislators. On Wednesday, STFers joined students from more than 3,000 schools in the U.S. to raise their voices to end gun violence…

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STF in Action for DACA

As Congress fails to protect the human rights of DACA recipients, this spring STFers are engaging their campus communities to keep the conversation alive. Actions include:

Chapters collected petition signatures urging Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Santa Clarita Valley Congressman Steve Knight to pass a clean DREAM Act…

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A Message from Alex Alpharaoh

Dear STF students and Leadership,
I wish to begin by expressing my deepest gratitude. Gratitude for the selfless work you are doing in your schools and communities in an effort to create awareness by creating bridges of solidarity through positive dialogue and leadership through example. These are scary and challenging times for the immigrant community in the United States. It is so easy to feel discouraged and hopeless because our lives are being used as bargaining chips.

We NEED STF to continue helping us in this fight (for our rights).


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Emergency Actions for DACA

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February 1, 2018: “The deportation clock is ticking on hundreds of thousands of young people who know no other country,” said Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois. About 1,000 work permits a day will expire beginning on March 5, and all protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be stripped away on a rolling basis over the next 2-1/2 years. With this looming deadline threatening, more than 60 STF student leaders, teachers and special guests gathered for the 2018 Winter Leadership Workshop to reaffirm their commitment to protecting the human rights of DACA recipients and to determine the next steps for emergency actions…

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Join Us on January 28, 2018 for “The Blood is at the Doorstep”

Get your tickets for the Human Rights Watch Film Club’s next screening, “The Blood Is at the Doorstep” Sunday, January 28. This human rights-related documentary looks at mental health, race and law enforcement following the 2014 shooting of an unarmed black man in Milwaukee…

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Golden Valley TV Highlights Alex Alpharaoh Performance

November 29, 2017: Spoken word artist Alex Alpharaoh wrapped up his Student Task Force campus tour of “WET: A DACAmented Journey” at Golden Valley HS in Santa Clarita Valley. After his performance, the Golden Valley TV (GVTV) crew interviewed Alex to discuss his goals for telling his personal story of coming to the United States at a young age and living without documentation…

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“Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” Inspires STF

November 17, 2017: The Academy of the Canyons STF chapter hosted more than 200 students for the film “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower,” on the campus of College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita Valley. The documentary follows Joshua Wong, a teenager who rallied thousands of students to skip school and occupy the streets of Hong Kong. The film follows Joshua as he becomes one of the autonomous territory’s most notorious dissidents, successfully disrupting government plans to transfer power back to China.

The event was well received and students asked questions concerning Joshua Wong’s sentencing to jail terms. Students said Joshua’s courage inspires them to stand up to injustices here at home…

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A Night to Remember: HRW Voices for Justice Dinner 2017

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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…

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“I am an American”

October 23 – November 8, 2017: Alex Alpharaoh, DACA recipient and spoken word artist, has been essential helping STF advocate for the human rights of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This fall Alex has performed his show, “WET: A DACAmented Journey,” at the STF Leadership Workshop, Santa Monica HS, Palisades Charter HS, Sierra Canyon School, Carson HS, Crossroads School, Culver City HS and New Roads School. He will be at Golden Valley on November 29. Thousands of students and teachers have witnessed Alex’s emotional journey about growing up undocumented in Los Angeles…

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STF Urges William S. Hart School District to Protect DACA Students

October 25, 2017: Santa Clarita Valley STF students urged administrators in the William S. Hart Union High School District to protect the human rights of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients on their campuses. Leaders from Academy of the Canyons, Canyon, Golden Valley and Valencia high schools asked district officials to: 1.) Draft an official statement of district policy to protect undocumented children raised in the U.S.; 2.) Write a letter to parents assuring the protection of all students from interview or detention by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on school sites; and 3.) Provide counseling resources for students encountering anxiety or depression due to fears of deportation…

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Alex Alpharaoh Inspires SAMO

October 16, 2017: To personalize the struggles of undocumented youth in the United States, the HRW Student Task Force Santa Monica High School chapter invited Alex Alpharaoh, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient and spoken word artist, to perform his show “WET: A DACAmented Journey” for more than 400 students and teachers. Alex shared the painful challenges he faced growing up in Los Angeles without legal status, and how the DACA program changed his life…

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Protect the Human Rights of DACA Recipients

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September 16, 2017: Since 2012, more than 750,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children were allowed to go to school and work without fear of deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. On September 5, 2017, President Trump rescinded the program and gave Congress six months to determine the fate of DACA recipients. Human Rights Watch has said, “Trump’s repeal of DACA will expose hundreds of thousands of people to deportation by a cruel and unjust immigration system.”…

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Don’t Miss “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower”

Get your tickets for the Human Rights Watch Film Club’s next screening, “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower,” Sunday, September 17. STF will be saluted at this event, including panel moderator, STF Director Pam Bruns, and a student panelist. Help us fill the theater!

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2017 Fall Leadership Workshop Save the Date: Saturday, September 16

Please join us Saturday, September 16, 9:30am-2:30pm for the STF Fall Leadership Workshop (click to officially RSVP) to learn about our new fall advocacy campaign! The event will be generously hosted at Fullscreen, a creative media company.

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Responding to a Demanding Year

Last fall, STFers were needed to help pass Prop 57, a ballot measure that will change the way youth are sent into the adult penal system, and this spring STFers raised their voices when human rights were in jeopardy at home and abroad. The 2016-17 STF Year in Review captures some of the moments of our Fair Sentencing for Youth and Know Your Rights campaigns. We hope you enjoy looking back on STF’s efforts and feel motivated to continue to speak out for human rights.

As always, we included updates from our incredible STF student and intern alumni. Below is a special sneak peak of what can be found on our STF Alumni page online and in the printed version of the STF Year in Review.

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STF Special Screening THIS Wednesday: “Tickling Giants”

STF is hosting a special screening of “Tickling Giants,” a new documentary about freedom of speech, on Wednesday, June 14 at New Roads School in Santa Monica. We want to gather leaders to give us feedback on further use of the film, so this is a select preview screening for STF students, teachers and friends of STF. Please RSVP and let us know if you can make it!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
5:00pm | Doors open
5:45-8:00pm | Film screening

New Roads School at the Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404

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“You Handed Us Our Lifeline”

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April 25, 2017: At STF’s Year-End Leadership Workshop, Sara Kruzan, human rights defender and formerly incarcerated youth, shared her heart-rending story of being sex trafficked at age 13 and being sentenced to juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) at 16 for killing her pimp. Through emotions of joy and pain, she reminded her audience why STF’s work is so critical: “When you are incarcerated you are made to feel that you don’t have a place. You begin to question your purpose and value; do you even matter? It is individuals, like you guys (STF has repeatedly worked on juvenile justice issues), who really care, that make the difference. You hand us our lifeline… The work that you’re doing is absolutely amazing. Each of you has the ability to make a change. You may not have the opportunity to see the effects, but you will feel the difference in your heart.”…

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Partisans for Human Rights

April 24, 2017: STF leaders from Crossroads, New Roads, Palisades Charter and Santa Monica High Schools met with Congressman Ted Lieu (33rd District) to thank him for being an outspoken supporter of human rights and to express concern about how social divisions across the country are affecting the vulnerable populations STFers care about…

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The Uncondemned

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Join us on April 9 for a special screening of The Uncondemned, an extraordinary documentary following a group of lawyers and activists who prosecuted rape as a crime against humanity. This is the story of their fight for the first conviction…

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