It's time you heard the truth, but not from Representative Joe Wilson.
For 30 years, New York State has placed people with psychiatric disabilities in large, institutionalized adult homes where many remain for the rest of their lives. On September 8, a Federal judge ordered New York to offer residents of large adult homes an opportunity to move into community-based supported apartments. NY State could appeal the judge's decision and delay action for many more months, if not years. We're calling on residents, friends, family members, and mental health practitioners to join our letter-writing campaign and ask Governor Paterson NOT to appeal this case. It's time to provide “decent housing, not warehousing,” for New Yorkers with psychiatric disabilities.
UPDATE, 22 SEPTEMBER: Good news, but your help is still urgently needed! U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus released a list of proposed amendments that he was immediately accepting for addition to the health care legislation. This document - called the "Chairman's Mark" - includes the original health reform legislation plus the automatically adopted amendments. This will likely the base text that the Committee members will debate. The good news: the Elder Justice Act (EJA) was included in the Chairman's Mark. What does this mean for the EJA? It means that if the Finance Committee approves its version of health reform legislation later this week or next, the Senate will have once again approved the EJA. But we still need the U.S. House of Representatives for the EJA to become law. It also means that your voice is crucial for securing House support for the EJA - please act now.
Each day, we hear new stories about how global warming is affecting people and communities around the world. From the Carteret Islanders - facing forced relocation from their homes as the islands they live on become slowly submerged by rising sea levels - to children in Nepal, missing school and experiencing food/water shortages due to intensifying floods and landslides, the human impact of the climate crisis is becoming ever more real (some scientists predict there'll be up to 150 million climate refugees by 2050).
On Earth Day 2009 we launched a campaign that asked: do environmental rights = human rights? To continue the conversation, here's a special 12-part series with the full, unedited interviews of the human rights activists we met at the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) conference in March 2009. Representing 10 countries, these advocates talk about the intersection of human rights and environmental rights and reflect on their own experiences working on issues ranging from land rights to logging to corporate accountability and climate change.
Two Representatives of the US Congress have asked the US Embassy in Phnom Penh to protect three Cambodians who testified in front the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission last week.
The testimony from one of delegation, Kek Galabru, President of WITNESS partner LICADHO, included concerns and recommendations about forced evictions and land rights. The Cambodian government has repeatedly ignored calls by civil society, UN agencies and the international community (inlcuding 11 donor nations) for a moratorium on forced evictions.
Roughly 150 advocates for elder rights from around the United States visited their representatives in the U.S. Congress this week in an advocacy day organized by WITNESS partner NCOA, the National Council on Aging. Among the issues they'll be advocating for is the passing of the Elder Justice Act (EJA), federal legislation that would provide a foundation to prevent, detect, treat, intervene in and prosecute elder abuse.
*This is the first post of a weekly series we'll be doing in September on Indigenous media.
Since April 9, about 50,000 Amazonian Indigenous people from territories all over Peru have been on strike to protest trade laws resulting from the US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. These decrees, pushed forward by Peruvian President Alan García, aim to open up Indigenous ancestral territories to exploitation
January 2010 Update:
HOPS Campaign promoting zero tolerance for violence against sex workers in Macedonia is off to a great start! We interviewed Marija Tosheva, HOPS Program Director, about her expectations and the role that the newly released video You Must Know About Me plays in the campaign. In her words: “This is the first time that sex workers have the opportunity to speak directly to the people in power and also to advocate for themselves… Because usually the laws, policies and strategies are build for the people, but without asking the people…”
UPDATE: Watch livefeeds Mark and Emily steamed this past weekend from a refugee camp in Western Thailand - http://qik.com/ddtv.
Mark Belinsky and Emily Jacobi are Founders and Co-Directors of Digital Democracy (Dd), an organization based in New York which empowers civic engagement through the use of digital technologies. Digital Democracy works with local community-based organizations to create the most effective programming. Presently, Dd is working with Burmese communities in Thailand, India and Bangladesh, as well as the United States.
For the next month Mark and Emily will be working in Thailand to launch two of Digital Democracy's programs: