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Human Rights Updates

Applications for the Eighth Annual Human Rights Institute Are Available Now!

The Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, in partnership with the US Human Rights Network, is pleased to announce that applications are currently available for the eighth annual Human Rights Institute, to be held March 20-22, 2013 in New York City.


“The Human Rights Institute is an inspiring, moving and transformative collective process….In two words: highly recommended.”

                                                         -Giselle Cárcamo, Cohort 2012

The annual Human Right Institute promotes good governance and social change by training a select group of participants from around the country to strengthen their local advocacy efforts by using a human rights frame. Institute Alumni become part of a nationwide community of human rights advocates and have access to ongoing human rights education, technical support, and dialogue.


                                              Download the Application by clicking here.

Scholarship Applications are available here.

Application fee: $25

Please include a check or money order made out to the Urban Justice Center, with Human Rights Project in the memo, with the application materials. Organizations for whom this fee is prohibitive should contact the Human Rights Project.

Applications should be mailed directly to the following address:

Urban Justice Center, Human Rights Project

ATTN: Erin Markman 

123 William Street, 16th Floor

New York, NY 10038


Applications with scholarship requests must be postmarked by January 9, 2013.

Applications without a scholarship request must be postmarked by January 16, 2013.


Please contact or 646-602-5634 if you have any questions.



Institute Fees:

 Registration fee for accepted applicants only:

$500 for organizations with a budget of less than $250,000;

$750 for organizations with budgets of $250,000-$500,000;

$1,000 for organizations with budgets of more than $500,000.

(not covered by scholarship)  


Scholarship funds for organizations with unique and demonstrable need are available to apply towards Institute fees, travel and hotel expenses. Please note that breakfast and lunch will be provided during the Institute. Participants are responsible for covering all other expenses.

                   We look forward to reviewing  your application and hope to meet you in March! 


The 2012 New York City Council Human Rights Report Card Is Available Now!

HRP is pleased to announce the debut of our fifth annual New York City Council Human Rights Report Card. This publication is a tool for education and for action, designed to advance the use of a human rights framework in policy evaluation and advocacy. It also measures the commitment of the New York City Council to promoting human rights in our city. To order your copy and to learn more, please visit our Council Watch page.


Join Us! HRP Director Moderates a Panel Discussion on the Right to Adequate Housing.


Join HRP for a Webinar on Human Rights Activism and the Arts

We are very pleased to invite you to join us for our upcoming webinar on Human Rights Activism and The Arts. On October 25th at 12pm EST the Human Rights Project will host a moderated discussion with accomplished artists Stephanie McKee, Artistic Director at Junebug Productions and Paloma McGregor, Co-Founder of Angela’s Pulse. Both women also work with Urban Bush Women’s Leadership Institute and B.O.L.D Network (Builders, Organizers, Leaders through Dance).

This webinar is part of the ongoing educational programming for our annual Human Rights Institute,  and we’re thrilled to partner with amazing artists to put it on. We encourage you to register now, as space on the call is limited! Free registration is available at the following link-

Please note that upon completion of your registration you will receive log-in information for the phone and web components of the call—you'll need to join both by phone and online to participate.

We are looking forward to this community conversation. Feel free to circulate this to your networks, and we will talk with you on the 25th!


HRP In the News

Human Rights Project director, Shani Jamila, recently had her career in social justice recognized by her alma mater, Spelman College, who featured her portrait and quote in a permanent exhibition entitled “A Choice to Change the World.” Artist Therese McKee Huffman created a visual timeline that traces the history of Black women's advocacy from 1881, when Spelman was founded, to the present day. Luminaries such as Alice Walker, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Maya Angelou, and Michelle Obama were also among those featured. 


Shani stated, "I am deeply honored to be included in this work amongst so many of my heroes. It makes me extremely proud to know that generations of Spelman women will be as inspired as I was by this demonstration of our institutional commitment to social justice."


Dancing While Black was a Roaring Success

BRONX, NY – On Thursday May 17, 2012 the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, Angela’s Pulse, and the Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance presented Dancing While Black, a panel and performance exploring the intersections of gender, race, and art. The event featured a panel conversation on equity in art, followed by new choreography from the latest generation of dancers to emerge from the internationally-acclaimed Urban Bush Women dance company.


The panel was moderated by Shani Jamila, Director of the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center. Panelists included Christal Brown, INSPIRIT dance company; Shalonda Ingram, Nursha Project; Greg Tate, cultural critic; Milta Vega-Cardona, People's Institute for Survival and Beyond; and Marlies Yearby, choreographer.


“This evening presents an opportunity to explore Black artistic production within a human rights frame,” said Shani Jamila, Director of the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center. “Who polices our bodies and aesthetics? How do we articulate our own visions?”


The performance, curated by Paloma McGregor, featured dancers and choreographers who have come out of the renowned Urban Bush Women dance company, including Maria Bauman (MBDance), Marjani Forte (LoveForte) with Nia Love, Paloma McGregor (Angela’s Pulse), and Samantha Speis.


Founded in 1984 by choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, the Brooklyn-based Urban Bush Women dance company seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance. From a woman-centered perspective and as members of the African Diaspora community, their mission is to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond. As with Dancing While Black, Urban Bush Women facilitates the use of art as a means of addressing issues of social justice and encouraging civic engagement.


“Dancing While Black is an initiative that will go beyond the boundaries of this one exquisite evening,” said Paloma McGregor, co-founder of Angela’s Pulse. “It is my attempt to create ongoing platforms for process, dialogue and experimentation. It aims to celebrate our multiplicity of visions, histories and potentials; to honor legacy and support innovation.”



About the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center:


The Human Rights Project is at the forefront of the U.S. human rights movement:  promoting new models of applying human rights to effectively advocate for systemic change across a range of issues.  Through capacity building, engagement in the international arena, government monitoring, policy advocacy, research and the use of the arts, HRP elevates the human rights framework.    For additional information on the Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, please visit


The Urban Justice Center is a unique organization which serves New York City’s most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal services, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing. The Urban Justice Center’s unique structure involves ten discrete projects which work on various issues faced by politically marginalized communities in New York City.


About Angela's Pulse:

Co-founded by Paloma and Patricia McGregor, Angela's Pulse creates vital performance work and fosters collaboration among artists, educators, organizers, academics and other diverse communities in order to illuminate under-told stories, infuse meaning into the audience experience and animate progress through the arts. Dancing While Black is an initiative created by Angela's Pulse. For more information, please visit

Press by Emma Woods, BerlinRosen.



Join us for Dancing While Black!

You are cordially invited to join the Human Rights Project on the evening of May 17th—we are partnering with Angela’s Pulse and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance to present Dancing While Black: Voices from the Bush.  This event is a fusion of dance and dialogue. It will feature an amazing show introducing new work from the most recent generation of choreographers to emerge from the acclaimed Urban Bush Women dance company.  In addition, HRP director Shani Jamila will be moderating a pre-performance panel that will contextualize the work of the choreographers in a human rights frame.

We are very excited about this event, it promises to be a very special evening. If you are able to join us it would be lovely to see you there!  


HRP Welcomes New Director!

HRP is delighted to announce the hire of its new Director Ms. Shani Jamila. Shani is a staunch human rights advocate, multimedia artist, and cultural critic who comes to the Urban Justice Center from the community based organization Justice for DC Youth (JDCY), where she served as director and coordinated the Prison to College Pipeline—a cutting edge, culturally grounded mentorship program that supports the education and empowerment of incarcerated teens. Over the course of her leadership, JDCY recruited and trained a corps of collegiate volunteers who joined her in tutoring and leading arts based workshops inside a juvenile detention facility. Prior to accepting this position, she designed and directed The Art of Activism seminar series at Howard University—building a model that utilized cultural work to examine domestic social justice issues in an international human rights frame. Please see full announcement and bio. Please join us at a reception on March 29th at 6:30pm held at the Vermillion restaurant - 480 Lexington Avenue to meet Shani and this year's Human Rights Institute fellows.

Celebrating Women's History Month: New Guide on the UPR and Gender Equality

In honor of Women’s History Month, HRP has released a new guide on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States and gender equality. In this document we highlight the recommendations made to the United States that explicitly called for improving the human rights of women and transgender people. These recommendations can be used nationwide by advocates and activists working to promote gender equality. They can be used to pressure government at all levels, from lobbying the national government to meet these commitments through policy reform, to making state governments aware of the international expectation that gender equality will be advanced, to drafting city-level legislation with these recommendations as a foundation. We have included action steps at the conclusion of the guide and encourage our readers to commemorate Women’s History Month by holding their government accountable to its domestic human rights obligations.

HRP is pleased to announce the fellows for our 2012 Human Rights Institute

HRP is very pleased to announce the fellows for our 2012 Human Rights Institute.  This cohort of fellows—selected from our largest and most competitive applicant pool to date—are passionate advocates and activists dedicated to promoting economic and social justice. Our 2012 fellows represent a great diversity of issue areas and geographic locations, and will join us in New York City at the end of March for an intensive three days of learning, dialogue, and skill sharing. After the 2012 Institute, the fellows will join our growing community of Institute alumnae, who have access to ongoing human rights workshops, resources, and skill shares. Please consider joining us to celebrate this year's fellows at a reception on March 29th at 6:30pm held at the Vermillion restaurant - 480 Lexington Avenue. Download flyer for more information. Meet our Fellows! This Institute is co-sponsored by the US Human Rights Network.

HRP releases issue briefs on City Council's human rights record. Commends Bronx council members for legislative record on housing. Concerns about Queens' record on housing.

The Human Rights Project is pleased to announce the release of three issue briefs on housing, access to civil legal services, and the criminal and juvenile justice system. The issue briefs are derived from information in the 2011 New York City Council Human Rights Report Card and give a detailed look at how the City Council has addressed these particular human rights concerns.

Breakfast Event Celebrating Release of 2011 NYC Council Human Rights Report Card

We cordially invite you to join us for an event celebrating the release of our 2011 NYC Council Human Rights Report Card. Please join us for breakfast and conversation, and to pick up your hard copy of the report! Event details are as follows:

Friday, December 2, 2011


Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Richard Harris Terrace

(Located inside the main BMCC building, at 199 Chambers Street, NYC 10007)

Click here for a map of the area.

Please RSVP to emarkman at

2011 New York City Council Human Rights Report Card Released

Today, we are pleased to announce the release of the 2011 New York City Council Human Rights Report Card. This annual report is the only report of its kind, and grades each member of the New York City Council on his or her record in promoting the human rights of New Yorkers. The analysis is based on votes and sponsorship of key legislation before the Council in the past twelve months.

Congratulations to the following Council Members for making the A-List:


See individual Council Member Report Cards.

Please support distribution and community education of the report by donating here.

Human Rights Webinar and Policy Brief on Paid Sick Leave

Thank you for joining us for the webinar on the Human Right to Paid Sick Leave today, October 25th at 1-2pm (EST). We thank our excellent presenters: Sherry Leiwant from A Better Balance, Virgilio Aran from the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, and Alexander Saingchin from the Human Rights Project. Please listen to the webinar or download the full power point presentation. We also encourage you to read our new policy brief, "The Human Right to Paid Sick Leave: How the United States and New York City Fail Low-Income Women of Color."

HRP Commemorates the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Join HRP in commemorating the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty recognized annually on October 17th. This year's theme is on sustainable development. HRP will be participating in an interactive panel event - Sustainable Development Must Include Every Person - on Monday, October 17th at 3pm held at the Salvation Army, 221 East 52nd Street. The event is sponsored by ATD Fourth World and the UN NGO Sub-Committee for the Eradication of Poverty.

Human Rights Tribunal on NYC's Public Education System

On October 15th, HRP participated in a tribunal on the human rights violations in New York City's public education system. The tribunal was organized by the Coalition for Public Education. HRP Director, Ejim Dike, sat as one of the judges for the tribunal where over 45 students, parents, and human rights activists presented testimony on human rights violations in the system. The participants are calling for a People's Board of Education and an end to mayoral control.

HRP participates in 10th anniversary of the Global Action Plan to Fight Racism

On September 22nd, HRP joined the global community in commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA), a global action plan to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Please listen to HRP Director, Ejim Dike, on Free Speech Radio News, on the importance of the DDPA to local organizing for racial justice.


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Human Rights Project, Urban Justice Center | 123 William Street, 16th Fl. | New York, NY 10038
phone: 646-602-5600 | fax: 212-533-4598