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The Action Thread Part Two

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ENVIRONMENT

The UK Just Launched a Fund to Drive Creation of Eco-Friendly Plastics

Without alternatives we’ll never beat plastic.

Britain’s doing pretty well at banning — or talking about banning — plastics. 

In recent months we’ve seen a ban on microbeads , and a proposed ban on plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds from the government. And businesses and supermarkets are also voluntarily playing their part , with the Iceland chain leading the supermarkets pack  by pledging to be plastic-free on its own-brand products by 2023. 

And McDonald’s has just banned plastic straws  in the UK, joining a host of other restaurants and retailers to cut them out. 

Banning single-use plastics is a great step, but the war on plastic is going to need something more : innovation in the world of sustainable alternatives. 

Take action: Call on Governments and Business Leaders to Say No to Single-Use Plastics

 

 

Take Action: Sign Now

 
 
 
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The UK government has just announced a fund for just that. The £20 million Plastics Research and Innovation Fund (PRIF) will support new ideas and approaches to find eco-friendly plastic alternatives. 

“There’s been incredible progress in making people aware of the danger that plastic can do to our environment and our oceans,” said science minister Sam Gyimah, announcing the fund this week. 

He said the fund will support “our best scientists and researchers … to come up with new technology and also new plastics that do not harm the environment so much.” 

Read more: UK Can Only Recycle 9% of Its Own Plastic. A New Report Says This Must Change

“This means moving from our current model of make, use, and dispose to a new model where you use, you reuse, and you recycle,” he said. 

 

This fund will help us tackle the scourge of plastic pollution with novel technologies and new materials & means moving from our current model of make, use and dispose to a new model where we use, we reuse and we recycle.https://dailym.ai/2tizkPA 

 
 

The innovations could include things like packaging for meat and fish that doesn’t require plastic, and coffee cups that can be recycled, according to theDaily Mail . Currently, just 1 in every 400 coffee cups in the UK is recycled, because each cup contains a tightly bonded polyethylene liner that paper mills don’t currently accept. 

Coffee cups alone lead to over 30,000 tonnes of waste being thrown out each year — around 2.5 billion singe-use coffee cups’ worth. In total,according to ministers, the amount of single-use plastic we ditch each year in the UK would fill London’s Royal Albert Hall 1,000 times.

The new fund is to be managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK, and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), according to Business Green 

Read more: This Supermarket Is Paying Shoppers to Recycle Plastic Bottles

UKRI chief executive Sir Mark Walport, said it’s “imperative we change our use and misuse of plastic” and that “this fund will help to create the range of new approaches and alternatives needed to rapidly reverse the impact that our use of plastics is having on the planet.” 

The government agencies will also reportedly work with sustainability charity Wrap, which works to achieve a circular economy, to drive initiatives across business, government, and research and innovation. 

 
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Science Minister @SamGyimah launches Plastics Research & Innovation Fund that will engage Britain's best scientists & innovators to help move the UK to a more sustainable approach to plastics #BeatPlasticPollution @UKRI_News #IndustrialStrategy http://socsi.in/gp62M 

 
 

The fund will be broken down into £2 million for a leadership and knowledge exchange initiative, £8 million to support creative research projects, and £10 million for business-led research and development. 

UK businesses working to develop new solutions to plastic pollution  can also apply for a share of up to £4 million to further their work.

Read more: Adidas Sold 1 Million Shoes Made of Ocean Plastic Last Year

“We are tackling the issue of plastic waste to protect our environment for future generations,” said Exchequer secretary Robert Jenrick. “One important part of this will be backing the creation of innovative products and methods of recycling plastic.” 

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN’s Global Goals, which include action on driving sustainability, life on land and life below water, and industry, innovation, and infrastructure. You can join us by taking action on these issues here 

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CITIZENSHIP

Canada Will Track Trump's Border Policy to See if Asylum Seekers Are Still Safe in the US

Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

After a US “zero-tolerance” migrant policy has ripped thousands of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, Canada will now track whether or not the United States is still a safe country for asylum seekers.

Between April 19 and May 31, nearly 2,000 migrant children were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to the Associated Press.

The zero-tolerance policy sends children to detention camps being compared to prisons, and pushes adults into the criminal justice system.

Take Action: Refugee? Migrant? Human Being. Show Your Support for All People - No Matter Where They Were Born

Take Action: Tweet Now

 
 
 
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United StatesUnited KingdomGermanyCanadaAustraliaAfghanistanÅland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAmerican SamoaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBoliviaBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBruneiBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCabo VerdeCambodiaCameroonCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo (the Democratic Republic of the)Cook IslandsCosta RicaCôte d'IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands  [Malvinas]Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambia (The)GeorgiaGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuamGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and McDonald IslandsHoly See  [Vatican City State]HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIranIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKuwaitKyrgyzstanLaosLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedoniaMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMarshall IslandsMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMicronesia (the Federated States of)MoldoviaMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorth KoreaNorthern Mariana IslandsNorwayOmanPakistanPalauPalestine, State ofPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalPuerto RicoQatarRéunionRomaniaRussiaRwandaSaint BarthélemySaint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth KoreaSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyriaTaiwanTajikistanTanzaniaThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited States Minor Outlying IslandsUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuelaVietnamVirgin Islands (British)Virgin Islands (U.S.)Wallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabwe

 

 

The United Nations has asked the US to put an end to this practice, calling it an ongoing human rights violation, and Canada is committed to tracking the situation.

"We have to see the impact of these changes on the domestic asylum system in the US to see whether the US continues to meet its obligations, not just to the international community, but also to the Safe Third Country Agreement," Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told CBC.

But critics are encouraging the federal government to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the US, saying it is no longer a safe third country.

Read More: UN Accuses US of Human Rights Violations for Separating Migrant Families

Under the STCA, asylum seekers are forced to make their refugee claims in the first "safe" country where they arrive, unless they qualify for an exception.

"A safe third country is a country, other than Canada and the country of alleged persecution, where an individual may make a claim for refugee protection," according to the Government of Canada.

The government has said it will track the situation to determines its impact, stating that the US, Canada, and the UN refugee agency are reviewing its current state, CBC reported.

Read More: What's Happening to Migrant Kids in the US?

And while many, including New Democratic Party immigration critic Jenny Kwan and the NDP's leader in Parliament, Guy Caron, are pushing the Liberals to take action, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to condemn Trump’s practice.

Both Caron and Kwan questioned whether or not the US can truly still be considered safe for asylum seekers at Parliament Monday.

 

"From the very beginning I have been very clear on the role that Canadians expect of me — to stand up firmly and unequivocally for our values, for our interests, to protect Canadians and make sure that we're doing well, as well as having a constructive relationship with the United States," Trudeau said in a heated question period. "That's what we're going to remain focused on."

Read More: Texas Detention Center for Migrant Children Compared to 'Prison'

Kwan retorted and reminded the prime minister again of the nearly 2,000 detained children south of the border, and that Trump’s policy has also removed the option to seek protection if at risk of domestic or gang violence.

"News flash to the prime minister, the human rights commissioner condemned this policy and called it unconscionable! This is destroying lives," she pressed.

Trudeau confirmed that Canada will continue to stand up for human rights around the world.

Read More: Melania Trump, Laura Bush Condemn US Policy of Separating Migrant Kids From Parents

"What we will not do is play politics with this," he said.

Canada tries to keep children out of detention centres as often of possible, but cases do arise.

From April 1 to December 31, 2017, there were 150 accompanied minors that were detained in Canada and just five that were detained without any parent or guardian, according to Canada Border Services Agency.

This draws a stark comparison between policies, but as Kwan aptly put it Monday, "If Canada does not step up, then we are complicit."

Global Citizen campaigns to help migrants and refugees and you can take action on this issue here.

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21 DE JUNIO DE 2018

 

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MEDIO AMBIENTE

Por qué dejar una cucharada de azúcar en tu jardín puede salvar a las abejas

Todos deberíamos seguir siempre las sugerencias de Sir David Attenborough.

Si hemos aprendido algo de Blue Planet II , aparte del hecho de que los desechos plásticos son un desastre, es que cuando Sir David Attenborough habla, el mundo escucha.

 

Después de haber explorado en su documental el estado actual de los mares y océanos del mundo transmitido a fines del año pasado , logró generar conciencia y que muchos pasen a la acción comenzando a tomar medidas contra la contaminación por plástico.

 

Desde entonces, hemos visto medidas que prohíben el plástico y que impulsan la innovación para encontrar alternativas sostenibles. Y, nos atrevemos a decirlo, esto es lo que podría estar haciendo la diferencia.

 

Ahora, Sir David está prestando el apoyo de su considerable influencia a otro problema ambiental: el destino de la abeja .

Según una publicación de Attenborough en Facebook , si las abejas desaparecieran de la faz de la tierra, los humanos tendrían solo cuatro años de vida.

 

Sí, nada y más y nada menos que cuatro años.

 

Por eso Sir David recomendó en su post algo muy simple que todos podemos hacer para ayudar a salvar a las abejas y, aparentemente, a nosotros mismos.

BeeImage: Flickr/Yamanaka Tamaki

"En la época de verano las abejas a menudo pueden parecer muertas, sin embargo, están lejos de eso", escribió . "Las abejas pueden cansarse y simplemente no tener suficiente energía para regresar a la colmena, lo que a menudo puede provocar su muerte".

 

"Si encuentras una abeja cansada en tu casa, una solución simple de azúcar y agua ayudará a revivir a una abeja agotada", continuó. "Simplemente mezcla dos cucharadas de azúcar granulada blanca con una cucharada de agua y colócala sobre una cuchara para que ella pueda alcanzarla".

 

Las abejas desempeñan un papel vital en la agricultura y la producción de alimentos a nivel mundial, y junto con otros insectos polinizan las tres cuartas partes de todos los cultivos. Pero las abejas de las que dependemos para nuestra propia supervivencia ya están muriendo.

Según la ONU , las poblaciones del 37% de las especies de abejas están disminuyendo. Solo en el Reino Unido, alrededor de 13 especies ya han muerto desde 1900, y otras 35 están en riesgo .

 

Mientras tanto, en Alemania, el 75% de todos los insectos voladores se han desvanecido. En los EE. UU., alrededor del 50% de las especies están disminuyendo y casi el 25% se enfrentan a la extinción.

 

En vista de todo eso, dejar una cuchara de azúcar en el alféizar de tu ventana o en tu jardín no parece demasiado trabajo.

 

Exhausted bee ? trapped between sash window gaps. Thought he was dead he was so tired from trying to escape - fed him a sugary spoon as per David Attenborough advice and he was revived and FLEW AWAY!! (I’m so late for work now and yes, my sills need cleaned ?) #SaveTheBees

 
 

La disminución de las poblaciones de abejas se debe a una serie de factores, como el cambio climático, la deforestación y la pérdida de flores silvestres,con el 97% de las praderas ricas en flores perdidas desde la década de 1930 y el uso de una variedad de insecticidas llamados neonicotinoides - en agricultura. Sin embargo, hay algunas buenas noticias, ya que la Unión Europea respaldó una prohibición casi total de los neonicotinoides en abril.

 

La publicación de Sir David en Facebook ya se ha compartido más de 450,000 veces, así que esperemos que mucha gente tome medidas para apoyar a las abejas.

 

Global Citizen realiza campañas para alcanzar las Metas Globales de la ONU, que incluyen acciones para frenar el cambio climático, mejorar la vida en la tierra y la vida bajo el agua, así como la creación de comunidades y ciudades que sean sostenibles. Puedes unirte a nosotros tomando medidas sobre estos temas aquí .

 

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JUNE 22, 2018

 

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ENVIRONMENT

Here's Why 100 TV Meteorologists Wore the Same Tie on the Summer Solstice

If you're seeing stripes, there's a good reason.

By Joanna Prisco

Who wore it better?

Dozens of meteorologists donned the same tie on television Thursday, the first day of summer, in a unified effort to spread climate change awareness, the Washington Post reported.

Take Action: Ensure All Communities Can Withstand Climate Disaster

Take Action: Take The Pledge

 
 
 
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The striped design, color-coded from blue to red, clearly depicts how the planet has increasingly warmed since the late 1800s. Blue stripes symbolize cool years, whereas red stripes denote the warm years, with the “the four warmest years on record over the past four years, and 17 of the 18 warmest years since 2001,” the report noted.

 

Today is #SummerSolstice. If you see your weather presenter wearing an item of clothing like this tie, it's because he or she is visualising global temperature change >> https://bit.ly/2tgeFN3  @CLIMATEwBORDERS #MetsUnite #ClimateChange

 
 

 

“This visualization removes all the distractions of standard graphs and allows the viewer to just see the long-term trends and variations in temperature without needing to interpret anything else,” Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading in Britain, who designed the tie, told the Post.

Read More: 'This Is a Wake-Up Call': Cities Face Spikes in Extreme Heat and Floods by 2050

While men participating in the summer solstice fashion push all wore matching ties, female broadcast meteorologists joined in with coordinating pins, pendants, and other accessories, while all promoted the effort with the hashtag #MetsUnite on social media.

 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter
 

Happy #summer! Hot summer days increasing in SpringMO since 1970 & we’re not alone. My necklace shows global temp trend from 1850, mix of blues turns red hot in recent decades. Thanks @ed_hawkins for the visual & @WeatherProf for nerdiest necklace ever! #MetsUnite #ClimateMatters

 
 

 

“It struck me as an opportunity to communicate climate change in the simplest way possible,” Jeff Berardelli, broadcast meteorologist for the CBS affiliate in Palm Beach, Florida, told the Post.

“In the past few years, it seems the impacts of climate change have accelerated,” Berardelli continued. “And most climate scientists agree we have literally no time to spare to turn the ship around. When we look back, we will view 2015 to 2017 as the turning point years; the years when climate change ‘got real.’”

Read More: Climate Change's Effects on Fish Could Undermine World Peace

This wasn’t always the case.

A decade ago, many meteorologists still viewed the concept of climate change with skepticism. But as more scientific information has become available in recent years, skepticism has transformed into serious concerns.

“One challenge is that the majority of bachelor's degree-level programs only have one or a limited number undergraduate course required in climatology for a meteorology degree,” wrote Marshall Shepherd, former president of the American Meteorological Society, in an op-ed for Forbes this week.

 

 

#MetsUnite Meteorologists all over world wearing this design today on the N. Hemispheric Summer Solstice (start of summer) to raise awareness about climate change. It shows Earth's atmosphere temperature change from 1850 (lighter blue) to 2017 (reds). The science of @ed_hawkins

 
 

 

“Other colleagues may have personal biases on the topic or fear that talking about climate change in a conservative viewer market will alienate them or make them unlikeable,” Shepherd added. “Frankly, I have been told by colleagues that many newsroom or station managers also discourage the discussion for fear of ratings being affected.”

A study published in late 2017 led by George Mason University, however, concluded that the view of broadcast meteorologists had “rapidly” evolved.

Read More: Climate Change Is a 'Man-Made Problem With a Feminist Solution': Former UN Rights Chief

Now those in the field are beginning to find themselves in a unique position to communicate the data from their platforms.

“I hope this effort is the kick-start needed to give our colleagues the confidence and motivation to lead on this vital issue,” Berardelli said.

Global Citizen campaigns to protect the world’s oceans and you can take action on this issue here.

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JUNE 22, 2018

 

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CITIZENSHIP

15 LGBTQ Activists of the Past and Present You Should Know

From the “Rosa Parks of the LGBT movement” to a Cameroonian lawyer, you should know these heroes.

It’s LGBTQ Pride Month — a time to celebrate love, but also to champion equality and LGBTQ rights.

Throughout June, cities around the world have been hosting marches in honor of LGBTQ pride. In many countries today, people are free to join these marches, marry whomever they choose, and openly show their love. But that’s still not the case for LGBTQ communities in every country, and even in countries where it is safe to march, there is still a long way to go before true equality is achieved.

Without these incredible activists, the LGBTQ rights movement would not be where it is today. 

In honor of Pride Month, Global Citizen is celebrating the brave activists fighting for LGBTQ rights in places where it can be dangerous to do so, and the inspiring champions for change, without whom there might never have been a Pride Month. 

While certainly not an exhaustive list by any means, these are 15 LGBTQ activists you should know.


1. Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha-P.-Johnson-1.jpgImage: Courtesy of Netflix

Marsha P. Johnson is sometimes referred to as the “Rosa Parks of the LGBT movement,” but Johnson is a celebrated icon in her own right. Johnson wasan activist, drag performer, sex worker, and model for Andy Warhol. She was black, queer, and trans — and fearlessly advocated for her rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community at a time when doing so put her safety in jeopardy.

“As long as gay people don’t have their rights all across America, there’s no reason for celebration,” she once said.

Johnson was a key figure of the 1960s gay rights movement in the US and, as legend has it, threw the brick that ignited the infamous Stonewall riots, which were the catalyst for the movement and have inspired many Pride marches ever since.

In 1992, Johnson’s body was found in the Hudson River. Her death was ruled a suicide, but those who knew her disagreed. A recent Netflix documentary, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, celebrates Johnson’s life and investigates the mysterious circumstances of her death.

 

2. Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rae Rivera-2.jpgStonewall veteran Sylvia Rivera leads the ACT-UP march past New York’s Union Square Park, June 26, 1994.
Image: Justin Sutcliffe/AP

Sylvia Rivera was a Latina trans activist, who, together with Marsha P. Johnson, co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an organization that provided housing and other services to homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City.

Born in New York City, Sylvia turned to sex work after her mother died by suicide when Rivera was just 10 years old. Rivera lived a turbulent life, struggling with drug addiction and homelessness, but Rivera was always a vocal and, at times, forceful advocate for change. She was once arrested for attempting to climb through a window (in a dress and heels) into a room where the New York City Council was debating a gay rights bill, NBC reported.

“Sylvia’s role in gay history was that she was one of the first people to highlight that our movement needed to be more inclusive of people who did not fit in the mainstream,” Carrie Davis, Chief Programs and Policy Officer at New York City’s LGBT Community Center, told NBC News.

 

3. Harvey Milk

Harvey-Milk.jpgHarvey Milk poses in front of his camera shop in San Francisco on Nov. 9, 1977.
Image: AP Photo

Harvey Milk, the subject of the Oscar-winning film Milk, was the first openly gay politician to be elected in California. Milk was assassinated in 1978, but during his short tenure in office he pushed legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

The bill passed with just one dissenting vote by Dan White, the city supervisor who would go on to shoot and kill Milk. In 2009, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger designated May 22, Milk’s birthday, as a day of recognition for the late politician and activist.

4. Edith Windsor

Edith-Windsor.jpgPlaintiff Edith Windsor of New York, reacts as she looks toward supporters in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC after the court heard arguments on the Defense Against Marriage Act (DOMA) on March 27, 2013.
Image: Jose Luis Magana/AP

In 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right — a landmark decision that would not have been possible without Edith Windsor.

After a 40-year engagement, Windsor married Thea Spyer in Canada in 2007. Spyer passed away just two years later, leaving everything to her wife. Because the US did not recognize their same-sex marriage, Windsor was asked to pay taxes on Spyer’s estate far beyond what a heterosexual spouse would be required to pay on the estate of their deceased spouse.

Windsor took her case to court and in 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in her favor. Two years later, the court expanded on that ruling in another case that led to federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

5. Alice Nkom

 

Alice Nkom is a human rights lawyer and LGBTQ activist from Cameroon, where homosexuality is still criminalized. In a country where police officer entrap members of the LGBTQ community through text messages and beat those they perceive to be gay, Nkom bravely fights for rights on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

Though Nkom identifies as heterosexual, she has dedicated her work to fighting for Cameroon’s LGBTQ community and founded the Association for the Defence of Homosexuality in 2003. Though she and her colleagues are sometimes in danger because of the work they do, Nkom remains undeterred.

“These threats are in fact proof that our fight must continue,” Nkom told Amnesty International.

6. Laverne Cox

Laverne-Cox.jpgActress Laverne Cox speaks on stage at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park on Sept. 26, 2015 in New York City.
Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Laverne Cox, best known for playing Sophia Burset on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, is a black, trans woman, the first trans person to be nominated for an Emmy, and a proud advocate for LGBTQ rights. Cox has been outspoken about access to health care for LGBTQ communities and has particularly championed the rights of trans people and people of color.

“We must lift up the stories of those most at risk, statistically trans people of color who are poor and working class,” Cox wrote in a Tumblr post in 2015. “I have hoped over the past few years that the incredible love I have received from the public can translate to the lives of all trans folks.”

Read more: 33 Quotes That Show Laverne Cox Just Gets It

 

7. Alexya Salvador

Alexya Salvador.jpgImage: Pillar Pedreira/Agência Senado

Alexya Salvador is a trailblazer. She is a trans woman in Brazil, where violence against LGBTQ people has reached an all-time high. More than 380 LGBTQ-identifying people were murdered in Brazil in 2017 and 58 died by suicide, the Guardian reported.

And she’s a pastor. Salvador calls herself the “first transgender shepherd of Latin America,” and, with other trans pastors from around the world, held a groundbreaking LGBTQ-friendly mass in Cuba last year.

Salvador is a mother of two, including a trans daughter, and is the first trans person to adopt a child in Brazil, according Al Día.

8. Lena Waithe

Lena-Waithe.jpgLena Waithe speaks as she accepts the award for outstanding writing for a comedy series for the "Master of None" at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017 in Los Angeles.
Image: Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP

Actress, writer, and producer Lena Waithe made history in 2017 as the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing. But rather than reveling in her historic win, Waithe, who identifies as queer, used her acceptance speech to deliver an inspiring message to her “LGBTQIA family.”

“The things that make us different, those are our superpowers,” she said. Waithe often uses her spotlight moments to advocate for the LGBTQ community. Earlier this year, she wore a rainbow cape to the Met Gala, a bold statement in the face of the event’s religious theme.

Read more: Lena Waithe Made a Bold Statement at the Met Gala and the Internet Is Here for It

 

 

9. Arsham Parsi

Arsham Parsi is a gay man who first began secretly working to support members of the LGBTQ community in his native Iran. But in 2005, the queer activist was forced to flee his country, where homosexual activity remains illegal.

Today, Parsi lives in exile in Canada, where he has founded the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, which supports and provides guidance to LGBTQ asylum seekers from the Middle East.

 

10. Michael Sam

Michael-Sam.jpgDallas Cowboys practice squad player defensive end Michael Sam speaks to reporters after team practice at the team's headquarters in Irving, Texas on Sept. 3, 2014.
Image: LM Otero/AP

Michael Sam became the first openly gay football player to be drafted by an NFL team in 2014. While his draft was a historic first, Sam’s time in the NFL was discouraging. He was passed from team to team, and eventually found himself without a team. About a year after he was first drafted, Sam retired from the NFL citing mental health reasons.

His struggle highlighted the discrimination and homophobia still rampant in the sports world, but Sam has gone on to share his story and continues to champion change.

 

11-15. ‘Queer Eye’s’ Fab Five

Fab-5-b.jpgJonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Bobby Berk, and Karamo Brown from Queer Eye.
Image: Courtesy of Netflix

The all-star cast of Netflix’s new Queer Eye series — a reboot of Bravo’s early 2000s series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy — may be all fun when it comes to makeovers, but they’re serious about making a difference in the world.

The “Fab Five” — Tan France, Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, and Antoni Porowski — speak openly on Queer Eye about their personal struggles and experiences with homophobia and discrimination. And the stars hope to use their newfound fame to empower LGBTQ communities.

“Just the idea that my being who I am [on Queer Eye] has made people, both younger than me and older than me, feel more comfortable about the space that they take up … that is something I never saw coming,” Van Ness told Refinery29 in an interview. “But also, when people are so effusive about how my role in Queer Eye makes them feel, it really opened my eyes to the amount of repression we still have.”

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JUNE 20, 2018

 

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HEALTH

What It's Like to Provide Health Care From a Shipping Container in South Africa

Cynthia Gcinile Yeko proves good health care can come from anywhere.

"On the Frontlines" is a new series that brings Global Citizens to the frontlines of the work your actions support around the world. In it, aid workers, health and education professionals, gender equality activists, scientists, and other individuals making a difference on the ground tell their stories and provide an in-depth look at how to address some of the world's greatest challenges.


More than 80% of South Africa’s population relies on an overcrowded public health system with too many patients and too few staff.

It’s a system that focuses heavily on curing conditions, rather than preventing them — which is a serious problem in a country where there were 270,000 new HIV infections in 2016 and most people don’t have health insurance.

This paints a pretty bleak picture of health care in South Africa, but nurses like Cynthia Gcinile Yeko are working hard to help change it.

Unjani Clinic is a social franchise that helps nurses across the country become entrepreneurs. Donors donate clinics that are made out of shipping containers to the nurses, which allows them to deliver health services within their communities.

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They use shipping containers because they are easy to deploy, Yeko explained. They are manufactured, retrofitted, and then transported to the community. They are also safe and secure.

"But mostly, at the end of my five-year enterprise development agreement with [Unjani Clinic], I get to own a moveable asset — being my container clinic," Yeko, who lives in Johannesburg, told Global Citizen by email.

Sister Cynthia in Action 2.jpgImage: Courtesy of Unjani Clinic Network

Yeko joined the Unjani Clinic network and started her own clinic in a township of Johannesburg called Orange Farm on June 15, 2015.

Her clinic is made of two 12-meter shipping containers that have been fitted with wall panelling and flooring. Inside, there are four consulting rooms, reception and waiting areas, and an air conditioned room for storing medication.

Read More: How South Africa Is Tackling Its AIDS Crisis, One Test at a Time

Yeko said she has all of the equipment she needs to provide for her patients in the scope of her practice, including blood pressure and glucose test machines, stethoscopes, blood testing equipment, and more advanced equipment like a WHO-approved SureChill vaccine fridge and an ultrasound machine to confirm pregnancy and gestational age.

"I wanted to be part of a brand that is providing the best quality [of] private and affordable care to the community," she said. "I wanted an opportunity to own my practice, be my own boss, and be able to create job opportunities for others."

Consulting Room 1.jpgImage: Courtesy of Unjani Clinic Network

Yeko’s clinic, as well as the other Unjani clinics, provide treatments for minor ailments and STIs, as well as services pertaining to chronic illness management for issues like diabetes, hypertension, and HIV, on top of family planning and counselling.

"We treat patients from babies to the elderly, and patients hear about our services mostly through word of mouth," Yeko said.

Read More: How South African Students Woke the World to the Brutalities of Apartheid

Having worked in the public sector as a health worker, Yeko saw challenges firsthand. State facilities are overcrowded, and they are lacking in staff.

As a professional nurse, she focuses on patient consultation, examining patients, providing health education, and dispensing treatment at her clinic. She also manages the business side of things and relies on her team to take care of the record administration and patient flow.

Medicine Room.jpgImage: Courtesy of Unjani Clinic Network

Her clinic sees between 30 and 90 patients per day, most commonly treating STIs, arthritis, ANC, diabetes, HIV, and hypertension. She’s also witnessed particularly difficult moments, such as patients with wounds that won’t heal, women bleeding from "backstreet abortions," and state ambulances won’t even respond when called by nurses.

"We operate (officially) from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. However, we treat the patients that are in the queue — no one gets turned away," she said.

Read More: South Africa Pushes to Combat HIV Among Women With Sugar Daddies

South Africa has 7.1 million people living with HIV, which accounts for 18.9% of the adult population, according to HIV awareness NGO Avert.

It can take hours to get in for tests at a regular clinic in South Africa, and because there is such stigma attached to HIV, many people don’t want to be seen getting tested and will therefore avoid it. People are also afraid to hear their results.

Sister Cynthia in action.jpgImage: Courtesy of Unjani Clinic Network

"Unjani has assisted them with dealing with that and they are afforded privacy. Patients are able to ask more about their individual conditions and get educated, which increases treatment compliance," Yeko said.

Yeko hopes Unjani Clinic will continue to grow, and that she will be able to expand her own clinic, while providing good paying jobs to her workers.

Read More: Heavy Rains Save Cape Town From Running Out of Water — For Now

In South Africa, 55.5% of the population was living in poverty from 2006 to 2015, which accounted for 30.4 million people, according to Statistics South Africa.

To date, Unjani Clinics have served 404,665 patients at 40 clinics throughout the country. Not only do they work to provide health services to people who really need them, but they empower many nurses just like Yeko.

Global Citizen campaigns to end extreme poverty around the world. You can take action here.

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That's a wrap folks! This year's Build a Well for Bono's birthday is now water under the bridge with $7275.19 raised to fund a water point for a maternity clinic in Mloka, Tanzania. We are extra excited this year as our partners The Humanity Project are currently in Tanzania to get the ball running - very soon your donations will be put to real work.

Thank you to all who have supported us this year and every year. We couldn't do it without you!

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108
CULTURE

What is afrofuturism, and how can it change the world?

22 May 2018 5:10PM UTC | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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From flying cars to smart houses, shining utopias to interstellar worlds, there are many ways to imagine the future. Science fiction and fantasy genres have long been used to explore the different ways humanity could exist, whether it be an alteration of the present day, a couple of years from now, or centuries ahead. When we speculate about the future, it’s not just a matter of what we imagine, but who we imagine.

Afrofuturism combines science fiction and fantasy with African mythologies. The term was coined in 1993 in Mark Dery’s essay “Black to the Future,” but the style existed before then.

Ytasha L. Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, elaborates that the genre “combines elements of science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, Afrocentricity, and magic realism with non-Western beliefs. In some cases, it’s a total re-envisioning of the past and speculation about the future rife with cultural critiques.”

The art that comes out of this genre not only conceptualizes the world through fiction and fantasy but challenges the world as it exists now. Being able to see yourself at the center of a story has great power, according to Womack: “Empowering people to see themselves and their ideas in the future gives rise to innovators and freethinkers, all of whom can pull from the best of the past while navigating the sea of possibilities to create communities, culture, and a new, balanced world.”

Fikayo Adeola, founder of the afrofuturist forum Kugali, argues that the style stands as a symbol of hope, in both the past and present.

“Afrofuturism was a tool that they could use to imagine a better future,” Adeola told CNN, “and the movement continued into the contemporary era.”

Afrofuturist stories, and the power they create, are coming to the forefront of popular culture. The high-tech, utopian world of Wakanda in Black Panther has introduced many people to the genre. Though the film is set in the present, it makes speculations that bring futuristic elements and social critique together.

“T’Challa represents … an African that hasn’t been affected by colonization,” Ryan Coogler, the film’s director, told The Washington Post. “So what we wanted to do was contrast that with a reflection of the diaspora … You get the African that’s not only a product of colonization, but also a product of the worst form of colonization, which is slavery. It was about that clash.”

The clash described by Coogler is not the only commentary made by the film. Black Panther makes audiences wonder: What if everyone in a nation had equal access to technology? What if women were equal members of society? What role does a powerful nation play in helping others? When storytellers venture to ask these questions, they also provide answers that can be applied to how we live now.

Afrofuturism is not just another way of telling stories. It challenges people to imagine a greater world than the one that currently exists. If the stories we tell are ones that allow everyone to exist in the world of tomorrow, perhaps we will be more inspired to make that world a reality.

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These 5 refugee girls created a powerful film about their hopes for a better future

18 June 2018 8:42PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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This is a guest post by Gayle Nosal, Sauti director.

In the summer of 2012, I was invited to travel to Uganda to meet a group of 30 girls living together in a boarding house in Hoima, a town of approximately 50,000 people in the western region.

Many of the girls were refugees from nearby Kyangwali Refugee Settlement and some were Ugandan citizens from rural, impoverished villages on the outskirts of Hoima. They were brought together by Think Humanity, a U.S.-based non-governmental organisation, for a highly unusual program providing food, housing, and school fees so they could attend secondary school, a resource otherwise unavailable to them.

IMG_2699.jpg

The 15-year-old girls lived like sisters — singing and dancing, ironing their uniforms, studying, attending church, and sharing stories of their pasts. Each girl dreamed of changing her life and navigating toward some kind of self-determination.

When I first met them I was struck by the tonal differences they adopted when they politely spoke to me as a “visitor” compared to the casual way they interacted with each other when they thought I wasn’t paying attention.

What I also wanted to hear was what they talked about when they stood together in a small group off to the side. I was curious about the questions they asked one another at night. When they awoke before dawn to bathe and prepare for school, how did they encourage one another? What made them laugh at dinner? Could the songs they sang as they held hands and walked be sung louder for many others to hear?

From Hoima, I visited Kyangwali Refugee Settlement to meet some of the girls’ families. Uganda’s Kyangwali Settlement, located west of Hoima and near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has been home for more than 20 years to refugees who fled war and persecution in DRC, Rwanda, and South Sudan.

Despite years of efforts by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), NGOs, and community-based organisations (CBOs), the people of Kyangwali — like in other refugee settlements — continue to face food insecurity, little-to-no income-generating opportunities, inadequate secondary education, and recurring outbreaks of preventable diseases. These challenges and many others disproportionately impact young women.

I wanted to make a film documenting the experiences of these East African refugee girls who had arrived to the settlement as children, spent nearly their whole lives in the camp, and were now coming of age, hoping for a life beyond the constraints of a protracted refugee experience.

To really know these girls and their lives, I wanted the essence of their own voices, not the voices of experts, not the stories written about them in the news, and certainly not scripted testimonies. So on my second visit to Uganda, I arrived with a team comprised of local and U.S.- based filmmakers. We told the girls that they would be creators of a film about their own lives and that we would be working alongside them to complete it. We provided them with creative options for sharing stories of their past, present, and future. We trained them to use Handycams, giving them exercises to work on (such as peer-to-peer interviews and video diary entries), and freedom to use the cameras as they wished.

We provided basic art materials so they could also convey their experiences and hopes through drawing. At one point, two girls told us they liked to write poems. The next day, we were presented with dozens of poems — and their authors, excited to read them on camera. These creative options quickly became emotional outlets for the girls, while also being unique ways for them to share their compelling and often-traumatic stories more intimately.

Take, for instance, a few lines from a poem called “Opportunity:”

Opportunity, opportunity.

You are so wonderful

You come for us all, especially we young children

For we are the future generation.

Uganda ranks among the top five refugee-hosting countries in the world, hosting an estimated 1.3 million refugees, mainly from Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Uganda has been recognised as a world leader in dealing with the refugee crisis because of its open door policy, and refugee engagement strategies like the distribution of land to refugees — however, this praise must be contextualised with harsher realities.  

The country is receiving far less funds than it needs for refugee support — in 2017 alone, the funding gap was estimated at $348.7 million. For the past five years and still today, new refugees regularly flow into Uganda from Burundi, South Sudan, and the DRC. The lack of funding and increased need has meant that humanitarian agencies are stretched thin. Additionally, this has resulted in reductions in refugee allocations of land and other key resources affecting education access, food access, health, etc.

The film, Sauti (“Voice” in Swahili), focuses on just five girls and their families, each with a different view of what it means to be in a protracted refugee situation for decades. These families understood our goal to allow the girls to tell their stories authentically, using their own voices — without the commentary or opinion of others who were providing humanitarian assistance of any sort.

At its heart, this film is an invitation to share a connection with those refugees who were in crisis decades ago and who, today, are still in crisis. Refugees today and those of the past are all connected to us — we have a shared humanity. Like all of us, they yearn for self-sufficiency and want to create a future of possibility and opportunity for themselves. It is an honor to show the stories of five young women in Kyangwali Refugee Settlement who — like all of us — want to belong.

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FOOD AND NUTRITION

How good nutrition helps Ramiya’s family thrive

June 20 2018 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

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This post was originally written by Africare 

Approximately 33.4 percent of children under the age of five in the Morogoro Region of Tanzania experience stunting – a condition resulting from chronic malnutrition. Inadequate nutrition robs children of physical strength and impairs their cognitive development, leaving them at high risk of frequent illness and falling behind in school.

Ramiya described her first child, Sam, as sickly and vulnerable to a range of ailments. Without access to a variety of foods or knowledge of proper nutrition, Ramiya relied on community traditions to decide what to feed her son. When he was two months old, she fed him water and porridge. At six months, he started eating ugali, a local traditional dish of cooked maize flour with sauce. By his first birthday, Sam was eating the same food his parents ate at every meal.

Africare-Tanzania-Mwanzo-Bora-Nutrition-

When the Mwanzo Bora Nutrition Program (MBNP) came to her community in 2012, Ramiya quickly became involved. MBNP is a USAID-funded organization led by Africare that aims to break the cycle of malnutrition and anemia through focusing on improved nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child’s development — from the mother’s pregnancy through the child’s second birthday. This is when growing bodies and minds need proper nutrients to develop and give the child “a good start,” which is what “Mwanzo Bora” means in Kiswahili. Working in partnership with the Government of Tanzania, the community-based program reaches mothers like Ramiya through peer support groups, where members can learn about selecting, growing, and preparing nutritious meals in a relaxed and familiar environment.

Community health workers and agriculture extension workers organize peer support groups and training in their respective villages, which are changing the way both mothers and fathers view nutrition. These workers cover many vital topics, including vegetable plots, raising small livestock, proper hand-washing methods, the importance of breastfeeding, and the need for a diversified diet.

small-livestock-MBNP-2017-1024x683.jpeg

The program has been a big success. Ramiya’s village is one of almost 9,000 villages MBNP has reached since its inception in 2011, benefiting close to two million women across Tanzania. Between 2010 and 2016, the prevalence of childhood stunting in Tanzania decreased by 8 percentage points.

Ramiya’s home is now a testament to the program’s success. She grows her own vegetables, raises rabbits, and her family sells them to buy other food that diversifies their diets. Ramiya is putting to good use everything she has learned from Africare’s MBNP program to ensure her entire family has a nutrient-rich diet.

The whole family is now reaping the benefits of well-rounded meals and an economically stable household. Sam, Ramiya’s first son, is healthier and doing better in school. Perhaps the most telling proof of the program’s impact on Ramiya’s family is her bright-eyed three year old, Tunda. Tunda, whose name means “fruit” in Kiswahili, is Ramiya’s second child. After Tunda was exclusively breastfed for the first six months, Ramiya introduced high-nutrition foods like porridge with a mixture of maize, rice, millet, and groundnuts. As a result, Tunda is thriving.

Ramiya’s experience is a powerful demonstration of how knowledge can empower communities to make positive behavior changes and build nutritional practices that are sure to bear fruit for years to come.

Ensuring healthier families is only one example of the important work Africare is doing across Africa every day. Learn more at www.africare.org.

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FINANCE & INNOVATION

This Country Is the First in the World to Offer Free Public Transit

"There's no doubt that we not only cover the costs, but also come out with a surplus."

Estonia made waves in 2014 for becoming the first country to offer digital citizenship and for using blockchain technology to transform civic life.

Now the country is improving the physical experience of being a citizen by offering free public transportation.

After providing free public transportation for five years in the capital city of Tallinn, the Estonian government is ready to expand the service to the entire country, according to Pop-Up City.

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Once that happens, anyone who has a "green card" can ride buses, trains, and ferries whenever and wherever — without charge.

The announcement makes Estonia the first country in the world to offer the service.

katya-shkiper-663514-unsplash.jpgPhoto by Katya Shkiper on Unsplash

Tallinn has already benefited from having free public transit, according to Allan Alaküla, head of the Tallinn European Union Office, who told Pop-Up City that the city has earned twice as much income because of increased population size and economic activity.

“There’s no doubt that we not only cover the costs, but also come out with a surplus,” he said.

Read More: Paris and Pittsburgh Don’t Want Their Citizens to Own Cars Anymore

“A good thing is, of course, that it mostly appeals to people with lower to medium incomes,” Alaküla added. “But free public transport also stimulates the mobility of higher-income groups. They are simply going out more often for entertainment, to restaurants, bars, and cinemas. Therefore they consume local goods and services and are likely to spend more money, more often. In the end this makes local businesses thrive. It breathes new life into the city.”

Alaküla also said that free public transit has cleared up the city’s streets, which used to be crowded with cars.

Getting rid of cars has the added benefit of making the air cleaner, an outcome other cities around the world are pursuing through free public transit.

Cities in Europe like Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin have experimented with more accessible mass transit after air pollution became intolerable.

Severe pollution causes 400,000 premature deaths and leads to $24.7 billion in health care costs each year across Europe.

Adopting free public transit also mitigates climate change by limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

Read More: These 6 Cities Are Trying to Give Up Cars Entirely

In Germany, for example, air quality is the chief objective for proposed free public transit.  

“We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars,” German ministers wrote in a letter to the European Commission in February.

“Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany,” they added.

In Estonia, citizens across the country championed the idea for free public transit, underscoring the desire for an easy and affordable way to get around.

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 2.54.31 PM.pngPhoto by Valeri Randalainen on Unsplash

Now traveling to work, going out for the night, or planning a weekend trip will be as easy as simply checking the bus schedule.

Global Citizen campaigns on environmental sustainability and you can take action on this issue here.

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CIUDADANÍA

Pídele al Congreso que asegure la reunificación de las familias

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Muchos de nosotros nos estamos despertando a un mundo que ya no reconocemos, ya sea por un aumento de los ataques racistas y xenófobos, la pérdida de la humanidad para con los que migran o una sensación de creciente desigualdad entre los ricos y los pobres. Con demasiada frecuencia, nos centramos en lo que nos divide, en lugar de lo que nos une con los niños, los jóvenes y las familias que llevan la peor parte.

 

En 2018, los líderes mundiales se reunirán en la ONU para acordar una forma más justa de gestionar la crisis mundial de refugiados y garantizar la dignidad y la inclusión de los migrantes. Los Pactos Globales para la Migración y los Refugiados tienen el potencial de transformar las vidas de millones de niños, brindando protección antes y después de la migración, la educación y la reunificación familiar.

 

A la luz de los últimos acontecimientos en los Estados Unidos, la separación sin sentido de los niños de sus padres, ahora más que nunca, debemos defender lo que creemos. El gobierno ha establecido políticas duras para las personas que buscan refugio en Estados Unidos, sin considerar ni abordar por qué huyen en primer lugar.

 

En Global Citizen, creemos en la igualdad, para todas las personas, especialmente todos los niños, en todas partes. Ya sea que hayas nacido en Nueva York o en Aleppo, Londres o Lagos, finalmente todos compartimos las mismas necesidades básicas, esperanzas y sueños. Para estar seguros, felices y saludables, independientemente de tu raza, sexo o la riqueza que poseas. Este es nuestro sueño para la humanidad, para cada niño, y debemos defenderlo.

 

La desigualdad dentro de nuestras fronteras debe ser abordada, pero la solución no es demonizar o penalizar a las personas y familias que huyen de horrores inimaginables, o aquellos que migran y le dan un gran valor a nuestra sociedad. Migrante o refugiado: todos somos seres humanos y merecemos dignidad y respeto donde sea que estemos. Estados Unidos tiene una larga historia de ayudar a otras naciones a proteger la salud, la educación y el bienestar de sus pueblos a través de la ayuda exterior. El liderazgo continuo de los EE. UU. es esencial para detener las causas que hacen que las personas huyan.

 

Si estás de acuerdo, levanta la voz. Pídele al Congreso que asegure que las familias separadas se reúnan y dile a los gobiernos de todo el mundo que aborden las causas fundamentales por las que las personas huyan, desde la pobreza hasta los conflictos.

 

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Indian Girl, 12, Kills Herself After Being Shamed for Having her Period

She was allegedly made to show the stain to her classmates.

CHENNAI, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Police are investigating allegations that a 12-year-old killed herself after a teacher humiliated her for a period stain on her uniform, highlighting the taboo of menstruation in modern India.

The girl jumped off a building near her home in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state on Monday, officials said, leaving a note saying her teacher had tortured her.

When other students told the girl she had blood on her clothes, she asked for help. But the female teacher made the girl show the stain in class, local media reported her mother as saying.

Read more: Menstruation Huts Are Illegal in Nepal, But Girls on Periods Are Still in Danger There

“The teacher did not even take into account that there were boys in the class,” The News Minute quoted her as saying.

“She asked my daughter to lift (the) top of her salwar (kameez) up and then gave her (a) duster cloth to use as a pad.”

In India, menstruating women and girls are often considered unclean and impure and are subjected to discrimination during their periods when, for example, they may not be allowed to go to the temple, or prepare and touch certain food.

 

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Global Citizen campaigns to ensure that girls' menstrual hygiene is prioritised across the world, to strip away the stigma of periods. You can take action with us here .

The parents heard about the incident from their daughter’s classmates and have demanded action against the teacher.

Investigations into the allegations are ongoing and school teachers and students are being questioned, police said.

Read more: Men Will Suffer If Marital Rape is Outlawed, India Government Argues

In a suicide note to her parents, the girl said her teacher was picking on her but she did not mention the incident with her period, officials said.

Activists say the suicide highlights the need to make it easier for adolescent girls to attend school.

They are often forced to stay at home during their periods due to stigma and lack of toilets or pads.

Read more: Crowdfunding Campaign Raises Thousands for Menstruation Products and Education in Rwanda

“The school did not have sanitary pad dispensing machines,” Dev Anand, the district child protection officer told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“They did not even give the girl a regular pad. These are questions that the management needs to answer.”

One Indian company is offering “menstrual leave” to female staff to combat the social taboos around menstruation which contribute to health problems and low self-esteem for millions of women and girls.

Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj, Editing by Katy Migiro and Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking and climate change. Visit www.trust.org

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'Everyone with a learning disability should get the treatment they deserve'

20 JUNE, 2018

Two members of staff from Northampton Hospital discuss the importance of learning disability training. 

debbie wigley and paul blake

Debbie Wigley and Paul Blake

Debbie

Healthcare for people with a learning disability has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past few years.

Report after report shows that avoidable and premature deaths continue, with a lack of training on learning disability for health professionals cited as a key reason. But this doesn’t tell the whole story and I’m pleased to say I’ve seen first-hand the desire among staff to have more training and the impact this has when done properly.

Paul and I have been working together for a year now and I can honestly say it’s been just fantastic. We had a project worker with a learning disability in post at Northampton for two years before Paul, but they moved to Wales, so we recruited again last year.

We had 13 applicants with a learning disability apply and after interviewing all of them, we chose Paul. There was just something about him, we thought he was brilliant.

Paul works with me two days a week doing a variety of jobs. We keep his day as typical as possible because he likes routine, but obviously there are times when things change and we have to adapt.

Paul does his rounds on the wards and goes to check on all our patients who have a learning disability. He chats to them and puts them at ease, marking sure that they have a hospital passport – a document that gives medical staff a background on a person, what they like, dislike, and their medical history.

He also runs learning disability training with me for all our staff. This training isn’t mandatory but we get a great uptake, with lots of staff keen to learn and know more about learning disability and the reasonable adjustments that need to be made for their patients with a learning disability.

“I’ve seen a massive and very welcome shift in attitudes towards people with a learning disability”

It’s so important that the training and all the work Paul does is done by someone with a learning disability. He is an expert by experience and it’s much more meaningful coming from him. In fact, I’d say Paul has done more for learning disability in the last year than I have managed in seven.

I’ve seen a massive and very welcome shift in attitudes towards people with a learning disability and I hope this continues as more and more are listened to and included.

This week – Learning Disability Week – Paul and I are supporting learning disability charity, Mencap’s Treat Me Well campaign and have been attending various events and steering groups in the hope we can spread the word about better healthcare for people with a learning disability.

I hope that maybe one day every hospital can have a Paul, not only for the employees themselves, but for the benefit of all patients and staff, so that everyone with a learning disability gets the treatment they deserve going forward.

Paul

I felt so lucky and thankful when I heard I had an interview for the project worker position at Northampton Hospital. I was so nervous beforehand, but I did my best and then all I could do was wait for the call.

When Debbie did call me and told me I’d actually got the job, I couldn’t believe it. I asked her so many times if she was joking. Once it finally sank in I felt really pleased.

I love my job and helping people with a learning disability. One of my main tasks of the day is to check in on patients to see how they’re doing. I sit and chat to them, or just listen if they need it. Hospitals can be a scary place when you’re not well and I want to put people at ease.

I also check that they have their hospital passport, this is very important and will help them and the staff to understand what they need.

The training I do is really fun and I enjoy helping staff to understand more about learning disability. We get mainly nurses coming along at the moment, but we hope to have doctors and the wider staff, too in the future. It’s so important that people with a learning disability get the medical treatment they need and deserve and if I can help educate people, then I’m proud of that.

“It’s such an important campaign”

My biggest challenge when I first started in my role at the hospital was finding my way around the different wards, but Debbie has been so fantastic and supportive and helped me to learn my way around. She really brings out the best in me in all areas of my work.

I had to undergo a lot of training on safety procedures when I first started, just like every new starter does. Debbie and the rest of the team made sure the training was accessible for me. I did lots of practical training rather than, as Debbie says, ‘death by PowerPoint.’ It is much easier for me to understand things when they’re practical.

I’m really looking forward to Learning Disability Week and supporting Mencap’s Treat Me Well campaign. It’s such an important campaign and I hope it will help towards achieving fairer healthcare for everyone with a learning disability.

Debbie Wigley is a learning disability nurse at Northampton Hospital and Paul Blake is a learning disability project worker, who works alongside Debbie two days a week. Paul also has a learning disability.

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CULTURE

3 dads who are fighting to give their children a better future

June 13 2018 | By: SADOF ALEXANDER

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These fathers and their families have come up against extreme challenges. No matter what hardships they’ve faced though, they are working hard to create a bright future – not just for their children, but for all the children in their communities.

Samuel Oduor Wangowe

When Samuel’s nine-month-old son, Derrick, suddenly became sick, Samuel knew right away what was happening. Unfortunately, this father knows first-hand that recognizing the symptoms of malaria isn’t always enough to stop the disease. After losing his son to malaria, Samuel is dedicated to teaching communities about malaria and how to prevent it. “I think Carl represents the future,” he says, “not just for my family, but for my community, and other communities across Africa.”

John Sirengo

HET_24421000.jpg

John lives a busy life. In order to support his seven children, he takes on the many roles of farmer, livestock seller, businessman, and banker in addition to being a father. He also helps other farmers in his communities. Despite having a lot of people rely on him, he always rises to the challenge. His hard work ensures that his children have the food, clothing, and education they need.

Ziad

ziad1.jpg

Ziad and his family face many challenges as Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Of all the obstacles to overcome, Ziad prioritizes one above else: ensuring his children receive an education. That’s why, after his son was unable to attend school, he decided to teach lessons from his tent. He has become a teacher to the children in his settlement, and he takes that responsibility seriously. “The importance is not just teaching subjects, but teaching hope,” he says. “If you don’t give children hope, it’s the same as losing a whole generation, because this is all they have. The future is all they have.”

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674
EDUCATION

Habsa didn’t let albinism keep her out of the classroom

January 17 2018 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

 
  

Story by Imani LaTortue, ONE Digital Intern. Special thanks to Room to Read.

Children in rural Tanzania face a multitude of barriers preventing them from achieving a quality education. For children with albinism, the uncertainties are amplified. According to the United Nations, at least 75 people with albinism were killed in Tanzania between 2000 and 2015.

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(Photo credit: Room to Read)

People living with albinism can face a variety of stigmas and cultural beliefs regarding their condition. Some communities adhere to superstitions and think individuals with albinism are ghosts, cursed, or have limbs containing magic powers. As a result, children like Habsa are at risk of being ostracized or even killed.

Despite the safety concerns, Habsa insisted on going to school. She was helped along the way by Room to Read, a nonprofit organization that works with local communities and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with skills to succeed in school and beyond.

With access to an early grade curriculum, caring instructors, and an expansive library, Habsa was able to not only catch up, but accelerate to a higher grade level and test 21st out of 63 in her class. Watch the video to learn a bit more about Habsa and her inspiring determination:

ONE welcomes the contributions of guest bloggers but does not necessarily endorse the views, programs, or organizations highlighted.

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Book of Hours review – tender minimalism to restless bravura

4/5stars4 out of 5 stars.
    

Various venues, Dundalk
The highlight of Louth Contemporary Music Society’s varied programme was Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, which brought a tear to the eye

Kate Molleson

Mon 25 Jun 2018 16.23 BSTLast modified on Tue 26 Jun 2018 12.33 BST

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Affecting … Gavin Bryars, on double bass, leads a performance of his Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.  Affecting … Gavin Bryars, on double bass, leads a performance of his Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet. Photograph: Alannagh Brennan

Amedieval Book of Hours was an intimate thing, personalised prayers decorated in gold leaf for the wealthy, or simple print for the poor. The point was to punctuate the everyday with private moments of beauty and reflection – the 15th-century equivalent of a mindfulness app. 

Contemporary classical music can tread awkwardly around notions such as “beautiful” and “reflective”, as though they’re anathema to complexity and intellect. Curators might court fans of the soft-grained or the tough but tend to avoid the collision. Not so at Louth Contemporary Music Society, where director Eamonn Quinn sidesteps protocol with a rogue charm and a quiet punk mettle – or maybe just a simple strategy of programming whatever he wants to hear.

The location is unlikely and perfect, debunking the delusion (again) that serious art only happens in world cities. Quinn started putting on concerts in Dundalk just over a decade ago. He invited the big names (Glass, Pärt, Lucier, Wolff, Gubaidulina, Riley, Sciarrino) and to his astonishment they came, infiltrating the Irish border town with world premieres and inflamed debate over late-night noodles.

The programming is un-faddish, un-cliquey, unpredictable, embracing the abstruse and the plainly sweet. This year’s edition ranged from the tender minimalism of Gavin Bryars to the saturated silences of Michael Pisaro to the restless cerebral bravura of Rebecca Saunders. And because it was all framed as a Book of Hours for our times, somehow the mix sat right: beauty and provocation given carte blanche to coexist, as any meditation might flit through multiple conflicting states.

Some of the concerts were at Dundalk Gaol, a former Victorian prison where notions of time and reflection must have meant a great deal. The exquisite Gothic Voices built new music out of old: 13th-century troubadour songs leading to sweet-sour music by Karen Tanaka and Linda Buckley. Pisaro’s new score Wind & Silence was the standout, setting words by Robert Lax with intent space and perspective, making the voices sound like sculptures spinning on an open prairie, wind blowing through them. Pisaro’s mighty silences can be confrontational as well as comforting.

In the same space was a concert devoted to Saunders, whose music is as athletic as Pisaro’s is stately. We heard fearless performances of Caerulean from clarinettist Carol Robinson, Bite (flutist Helen Bledsoe) and Solitude (cellist Severine Ballon). But it was Juliet Fraser premiering a virtuosically limber vocal piece that stole the show. O Yes & I is a stunning new Joyce setting that taps the action of a wandering mind – ideas firing so rapidly and untethered that forming actual words would slow her down.

Elsewhere there was the dilated beauty of Wolfgang von Schweinitz’s KLANG auf Schön Berg La Monte Young; the fragile, forcible sound play of a new flute piece by Sciarrino; a joyous piano miniature by Gérard Pesson. True to form, the festival ended with the most unexpectedly disarming blow of all: Gavin Bryars’ seminal 1971 tape work Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet – familiar to the point of innocuousness, you might think, but with 40 local schoolkids singing and playing along, Bryars himself joining in on bass and an audience packed with nuns and mums, the experience reduced me to tears.

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GIRLS AND WOMEN

How Bernice and her bamboo bikes are changing a small Ghanaian community

18 August 2017 3:24PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

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Meet Bernice Dapaah – a young entrepreneur from Ghana who decided to build eco-friendly bikes to not only help the environment, but to improve the lives of those living in her community!

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 15.41.21

Bernice (on the left), the founder of the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative.

While studying for a degree in Business Administration, Bernice decided she wanted to take control of her future and build a business where she would be responsible for every element of the company. After graduating, Bernice’s journey to be her own boss took her back to her hometown of Kumasi, where the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative was born.

The initiative uses mainly natural resources – such as bamboo – to create a more sustainable mode of transport for people to be able to get to school or work.

Here are 3 reasons why we can get behind Bernice and her bikes:

1. They’re eco-friendly.

Locally sourced bamboo

Locally sourced bamboo. Photo Credit: UN.

The Ghanaian company is able to take advantage of locally sourced resources by using bamboo to build the entire frame of the bike. Conscious that they would be consuming large amounts of local bamboo, Bernice plants 10 new bamboo plants for every 1 plant that is cut down! By building the bikes out of bamboo instead of steel or aluminium, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced making the bikes friendly for everyone, everywhere.

2. They’re helping children get to school.

Bamboo1

School children receiving bamboo bikes! Photo credit: Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative.

A product of education, Bernice is using her eco-friendly bamboo bikes to enable children to go to school. Some children in the community walk long distances to get to school, meaning they are often late, reducing their time to learn. Bernice donates bikes to them so they are able to focus on their education and maximise their time in the classroom.

3. They’re empowering women.

Local women working in the bike shop

Local women learning how to make the bamboo bike. Photo Credit: UN.

Not only is she enabling children to make learning a priority, Bernice is responsible for boosting the community’s local economy by employing locals to harvest and plant bamboo, build the bikes, and sell them to markets around the world. Oh, and did we mention that Bernice also made sure women were hired to be a part of her team of 35 employees so ‘they can do something on their own, rather than being at home looking after their husband’?

Reducing pollution, providing students with a way to get to school on time, providing jobs — Bernice’s Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative is definitely a success story.

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ENVIRONMENT

Germany Is Planning Free Public Transit to Fight Air Pollution

This represents a surprising shift for Germany.

Germany is a global leader in wind and solar power, but air pollution throughout the country has gotten so bad that the European Union just threatened the country with massive fines if the life-threatening situation wasn’t rapidly addressed, according to the Independent.

Rather than fight the decree, the German government announced earlier this week a bold new plan to clean up the atmosphere: free public transit.

In a letter to the European Commission, government ministers laid out their plan.

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“We are considering public transport free of charge in order to reduce the number of private cars,” the letter says.

“Effectively fighting air pollution without any further unnecessary delays is of the highest priority for Germany,” they added.

The European Commission called out several other countries, including Spain, France, and Italy, for having excessive nitrogen dioxide and fine particles in the atmosphere, according to the Guardian.

Severe pollution causes 400,000 premature deaths and leads to $24.7 billion in health care costs each year across Europe.

Read More: Air Pollution Is Killing 6.5 Million People Each Year

The rebuke represents a surprising shift for Germany from global champion in the fight against climate change to delinquent polluter, but it underscores one of the country’s abiding passions — cars.

Germany is home to many of the world’s leading car brands — Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, to name a few.

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For all the wealth these companies have brought the country, they’ve also brought emissions, and now the government is blaming excessive car use, in addition to industrial production in other sectors, for high pollution levels, the Guardian reports.

And one of the most effective ways to get people to drive less is to make public transportation more enticing. 

Read More: New 28-Hour Work Week in Germany Is Great for the Environment

Germany already had cheap mass transit options compared to the rest of the EU, according to the Guardian, but the new proposal would make traveling by train absolutely free.

The plan is expected to be rolled out in five cities in the Western part of the country, including Bonn, Essen, and Mannheim. Further details are currently unclear, but the focus on five industrial cities suggests the plan will initially involve subways and other short-distance trains.

12060600276_a391357d7d_k.jpgFlickr / Konrad Lembcke

Germany’s plan to reduce pollution also includes lowering emissions from buses and taxis, creating low-emissions zones, and car-sharing programs.

But ticketless train rides are at the heart of the plan.

Read More: Paris and Pittsburgh Don’t Want Their Citizens to Own Cars Anymore

Critics of the proposal say that it would be prohibitively expensive and that infrastructure for the expected ridership increase is not yet built, according to the Guardian.

“We expect a clear statement about how [free transport] will be financed”  Helmut Dedy, the chief of the Association of German Cities, told the Guardian.

But the move could help the country shed its reliance on automobiles, an ambition that cities and countries across the world are pursuing.

Global Citizen campaigns on environmental sustainability and you can take action on this issue here.

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Africa’s First Female President Bans FGM on Her Last Day in Office

Nearly half of women and girls in Liberia have been subjected to FGM.

After 12 years in office, Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is stepping down. But even on her last day Sirleaf was hard at work, fighting for women’s rights.

Sirleaf, the first elected female president in Africa, signed an executive order outlawing female genital mutilation (FGM) on Friday — a long-awaited win for women in the West African country.

Activists have called for a ban on FGM in Liberia for years and while the government came close to abolishing the practice in 2017 as part of a new law against domestic violence, the legislation was ultimately passed without the FGM clause to the dismay of women’s rights advocates, Reuters reported.

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In partnership with: Equality Now and CHIME FOR CHANGE

 

Sirleaf had said that the omission of the FGM ban from the initial domestic violence law “[undermined] the very essence of the law and

it incomplete,”

 according to an official statement.

Nearly half of Liberia’s women and girls have been subjected to FGM, a cultural practice in which a female’s external genitalia are partially or totally removed or altered for non-medical reasons, according to UNICEF. And women and girls from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are disproportionately affected, UNICEF reported.

Read more: 12 Myths About Female Genital Mutilation Debunked

Sirleaf’s executive order makes Mali the only West African country that has yet to abolish FGM. But around the world, more than 200 million women and girls have undergone FGM, most of them before the age of 15, according to the World Health Organization.

For many years, Sirleaf — who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her efforts to advance women’s rights and establish peace in Liberia — attempted to abolish the harmful practice and publicly committed to banning FGM by the end of her term before the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

And while she has delivered on that promise, there is still work to be done.

“We applaud the move by former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her signing of the Executive Order on the Domestic Violence Bill will play an important part in achieving a universal ban on FGM in Liberia; however, it is too early to celebrate," Program Manager Flavia Mwangovya of Equality Now told Global Citizen. "The provisions in the Bill on FGM regarding the age of consent create a legal loophole that protects girls under the age of 18, but fails to protect women and girls above 18 from the harmful practice."

Still, Sirleaf's order represents a hard-won battle that lays the groundwork for stronger legislation in the future.

Global Citizen campaigns to protect girls and women from all forms of gender-based violence. You can take action here to help advance gender equality worldwide.

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GIRLS & WOMEN

Saudi Arabia Officially Lifts Widely Criticized Ban on Female Drivers

Women put pedal to the metal shortly after to celebrate.

Saudi Arabia lifted a long-time and oft-criticized ban on female drivers Sunday night, inspiring immediate joy rides and victory laps by women across the nation, reported NPR.

Notably, Aseel Al Hamad, Saudi Arabia’s first female racing driver, took to the road in a Formula One car ahead of the French Grand Prix to celebrate, according to the Guardian.

Take Action: Sign this petition to #LeveltheLaw and empower girls and women around the world!

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In partnership with: CHIME FOR CHANGE

“I have loved racing and motor sport from a very young age and to drive a Formula One car goes even beyond my dreams and what I thought was possible,” she told the Guardian. “I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and spirit to dream.”

The lifting of the ban, ordered last September by King Salman, is part of a series of progressive reforms initiated by heir apparent, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a push to transform the economy of the Gulf kingdom.

"I'm speechless. I'm so excited it's actually happening," one driver, Hessah al-Ajaji, told the Associated Press, adding that male drivers on the road early Sunday morning "were really supportive and cheering and smiling."

Read More: Saudi Arabia Continues to Arrest Women's Rights Activists: Reports

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, a vocal proponent of ending the ban over the last year, echoed those sentiments in a video posted to Twitter, stating, "Finally, First ride with my daughter @Reem_Alwaleed while she's driving me and my grand daughters in Riyadh."

 

 

Read More: Men Guilty of Sexual Harassment in Saudi Arabia Could Soon Be Jailed for Up to 5 Years

Some saw lifting the ban not only as a win for women’s freedoms, but as a boon to local businesses.

"If you look at it from a social perspective, the women's driving ban being lifted, is a positive one. And also from a workforce perspective, women are being given more leadership roles," Layla Albraikan, a 25-year-old who lives in Riyadh, told NPR. "Hopefully I'll drive every day to work, and in a couple of months I'll buy my own car."

While the moment is certainly historic, at least six women’s rights activists — who helped spearhead the campaign to allow women to drive — remain jailed, according to Al Jazeera.

 

 

Today, the driving ban has been lifted in Saudi. Today, there is no stopping women to drive. Except those who fought for this right! Jailed and branded 'traitors' by Saudi Arabia. Tell King Salman to free Saudi activists now!

 
 

 

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and gender equality is goal number five. You can join us and take action here.

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