Minnesota’s take on the United Nations #hearmetoo Anti-violence campaign
On December 10, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the declaration of human rights, the Minneapolis-St.Paul chapter hosted our #hearmetoo human rights event at Mitchell Hamline School of Law featuring Keynote speaker - Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, Dr. Sujata Warrier of the Battered Women’s Justice Project and Tamara Stark Director of Youth and Family services at Tubman Center.
We were honored with the opportunity to display the Clothesline project at our event, whose mission is to educate students and the community that violence is a problem everywhere, help is available, there is hope and a path to healing. This project acts as a visual reminder that incest, domestic violence, and sexual violence exist in our communities by honoring the victims who have been lost and act as a memorial to help promote healing for the surviving families. The event also showcased a silent auction to raise funds for our organization and help sponsor future events.
Our keynote speaker, John Choi, who was sworn in as Ramsey County attorney in 2011 and has been a pivotal advocate for the fight against human trafficking by holding the abusers accountable, working diligently with various advocacy agencies to help the victims and changing the way the government responds in domestic violence and sex trafficking altercations. During his speech he talked about his dedication to engaging men as peacemakers in the community to prevent future violence against women and children.
Our next speaker was Tamara Stark Director of Youth and Family services at Tubman Center. Her work includes overseeing services for youth and families by implementing strength-based and trauma-informed approaches to address violence. She leads development, research, and implementation of innovative programs in partnership with local and national initiatives to improve the lives of youth and their families. Her role oversees curriculum development and prevention, intervention, outreach and youth leadership programs in the community while building inclusive and responsive care systems. Her talk was about Tubman’s role in providing effective community outreach programs and transparency of the resources provided to victims and families and what still needs to be done to provide safe spaces for victims.
Our final speaker of the evening was Dr. Sujata Warrier is the Director of Training and Technical assistance at the Battered Women’s Justice Project. She trains and offers technical assistance to professionals in various systems on the issue of domestic violence of how to respond and treat victims of domestic violence. Additionally, she provides aid on legislative and policy issues on battered immigrant women. Sujata has also trained extensively at the local, state, national and international levels on the issue of cultural competency for various professionals and delivered numerous keynotes on the issues of culture, competency, relativism, domestic and sexual violence and violence against women. Her talk was directed towards the engagement of survivors and utilizing their experience to determine what works and the best way to respond and treat the victims of violence.
International Day of the Girl 2018
The USNC for UN Women Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter participated in the 6th annual International Day of the Girl festival hosted by the Academy of Women Empowerment located in St. Paul, MN along with other local organizations. The goal of the festival was to help recognize girls rights and unique challenges they face around the world. The event hosted over 300 girls and their families to celebrate how awesome it is to be a girl.
Every organization had a table with information and games catered toward empowerment and individuality. The USNC for UN Women’s table theme was centered around the book “Sadako” by Eleanor Coerr, which is about a girl who lived in Hiroshima, Japan during World War II who was later diagnosed with Leukemia from the Atomic bomb dropped near her home. She was inspired to make paper cranes by the Japanese legend that said whomever made a thousand of them would be granted a wish and her wish was to live. The cranes were finished and donated to many places of importance all around the world like the 9/11 memorial, the Museum of Tolerance and the Japanese American National Museum. The memorial erected for Sadako reads “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.”
The girls and their families that stopped by our table were told about the importance of our organization and what we do around the world for women and girls and the importance of our rights as women and girls. Each girl was shown how to make their very own cranes which were then gathered together to donate their peace cranes. The festival brought together girls of various ages, cultures and religions to embrace one another and the power they have as they learned more about to uplifting and empowering one another.