After a year of working for New Tactics, I never once stepped foot in the St. Paul, Minnesota office. I only met my coworkers in person one time and yet I was still provided with such a meaningful learning experience at CVT. Although this was a different internship experience than most, I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with such an amazing team and for a great organization. As a sophomore at George Washington University, I spent hours searching for opportunities to work in the international affairs field in Minnesota for the following summer.
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New Tactics in Human Rights recently attended a webinar, “From a Humanitarian Exodus to Long-Term Growth: Latin America’s Journey Responding to the Venezuelan Exodus,” calling for donors to increase their financial response
Six and a half years with New Tactics in Human Rights has come and gone in the blink of an eye, and it is time for me to say goodbye. For over six years, I have been surrounded by the stories of human rights defenders, your stories, and your tireless efforts to improve your communities and countries. I am constantly astounded by the dedication, persistence, strength, and courage of defenders; This has forever shaped my worldview.
Ai Weiwei is a world-renowned Chinese artist and activist who has been creating provocative contemporary art pieces around the world for much of the 21st century. His work contains powerful political messages about human rights and democracy and has sparked much controversy among its viewers but mainly from Chinese authorities. He uses his creativity, sense of humor, and strong symbolism to create pieces that have angered the Chinese government for years. His work ranges from documentary films to architecture to photographs to music to art exhibitions.
After a wonderful year with the New Tactics team at CVT, it is with sadness that I leave one of the best teams I have ever worked with. When I first started with New Tactics, they welcomed me with open arms. I realized quickly that this team was more like a family. The basic definition of a team is two or more people working together to achieve a common goal.
For the last two decades New Tactics for Human Rights has been facilitating in-person workshops with human rights activists in the US and across the globe. We had honed our skills as trainers to quickly build community within a group, foster conversation, and deliver content—all with the goal of assisting human rights activists to advance their advocacy using our 5 Step-Strategic Effectiveness Method.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to dramatically reduce or even eliminate face-to-face interactions for safety precautions. At the same time, as countries around the world cope with COVID-19, the need to advocate for the human rights of those most marginalized and vulnerable in our community has become even more urgent.
The last month in the Twin Cities normalcy has been flipped on its head due to the murder of George Floyd. My passion for photography led me to go downtown along with another New Tactics intern to visit Cup Foods, the location where George Floyd was killed, as well as other areas around the cities where the movement for change has erupted.
Beginning in 2016, the app Citizen has become a resource for communities to unite neighbors nationwide. The app was created in New York City as a way for people to report crimes in communities. While allowing neighbors to report crimes and create the effect of “citizens arrest.” After a short while, the NYPD shut it down due to crimes not being reported to authorities and neighbors handling the crimes. The app has evolved into a system where individuals with the app are able to post “protests, lost pets, downed power lines, and other community FYIs,” says creator Andrew Frame.
While most of the world is, or has been, instituting some form of isolation in response to COVID-19, human rights activists have had the difficult challenge of continuing to move their advocacy forward without direct interaction. Below is a collection of tactical actions that highlight the work of activists from across-the-globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.