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September 28th, 2018

Help the youth lead the fight against climate change!

type:Education, NGO
by:Yair Oded

“We’re taking control of our future. Climate Change is our generation’s biggest challenge. Let’s take action.”

This is the slogan of Alliance for Climate Change (ACC), a non-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the youth about the science of climate change and encouraging them to take action. The organization provides extensive and engaging education programs and multimedia tools that acquaint the students with the facts and science behind climate change in a manner that ties them directly to the issues at hand, yet do so in a way that encourages a sense of “justice and optimism”. They also provide teachers with lesson-plans which provide guidance on how to incorporate climate change issues into the curriculum.

In addition to imparting knowledge and increasing awareness, the organization empowers students and teachers to take action and instructs them on how become ambassadors of change. The type of engagement and action promoted by ACC ranges from simple steps that are easy to incorporate into people’s daily routine to large scale mobilization of students and volunteer teams. Through various workshops and training programs, ACC give students the tool to become climate change leaders enact change in their local communities.  

Thus far, ACC have educated nearly 3 million students across the U.S. about climate change, facilitated 1 million student led climate change actions, and trained roughly 4,000 students to become climate change leaders.

Too often the narrative about climate change portrays the issue as a calamity that befalls us and which only world leaders and industry tycoons can tackle. That is not to detract from the responsibility of those in power to mobilize a large scale, policy backed, comprehensive shift in how they approach and handle human induced climate change issues. Yet, groups such as ACC and their work remind us that we, the dwellers of the earth, play a major role in both causing and fighting climate change. By educating the younger generation about the facts surrounding issue and the impact their daily habits have on the environment, ACC fosters a generation of conscious individuals who lead climate change action from within their communities.

Visit their website for more information on their programs, and to learn how you can become a climate change leader.
afghan surfing
September 11th, 2018
type:Crowd Funding, Donation
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

"Unsurfed Afghanistan" is a documentary film that follows Afridun Amu in his quest to bring joy to his homeland- Afghanistan. Afri, a trained jurist, has spent much of his life searching the world’s coastlines for surf spots. This film accompanies him to his home country with just the same goal. Afghanistan, however, has no access to the sea. How, then, was Afri going to achieve his goal of bringing surfing as a joyful sports to landlocked Afghanistan?

With the help of experienced river-surfers, the team around Afri spotted locations no surfboard has ever touched. Through risky, agitated streams underneath a calm whitish looking river surface, broken roads, temperature swings, and cultural differences, Afri captures footage that unveils an almost mystical side of Afghanistan and its people. 

Afridun Amu established the Wave Riders Association of Afghanistan (WRAA) in 2012. Since, WRAA has hosted the first Afghan National Surf Competition in Portugal and joined the International Surf Association World Games.

Now the film's team needs your support to finish their work in a way that honors the mission. They are in need of funds for the post production in order to get the movie to the film festival circuit.

Please feel encouraged to follow the link on Kickstarter. There you may contribute to this film and help the team make the impossible possible.
September 10th, 2018
by:Yair Oded

The status of LGBTQ Filipinos has fluctuated dramatically over the past decade in the overwhelmingly Catholic country. Although pervasive and deeply rooted religious sentiments preclude complete equality of LGBTQ people in the Philippines, public opinion has nonetheless improved on the issue.

A 2013 Pew Research Center report reveals that roughly 70 percenty of Fiipinos believe that LGBTQ people should be accepted in society. In 2017, the House of Representatives passed a historic law which, now pending the approval of the Senate, seeks to eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ Filipinos in areas of employment, health care, housing, and other public services.

When it comes to marriage equality, however, the public does not appear to be as supportive, with approximately 61% of the population opposing same-sex marriage.

In June, 2018, deliberations commenced in the Supreme Court regarding a 2015 petition submitted by an openly gay Filipino lawyer named Jesus Falcis, which seeks to alter the Constitution’s Family Code to allow for same sex marriages.

It remains unclear whether the Supreme Court will side with the majority Catholic public, which seems more accepting of a civil union but not of marriage between same-sex couples, or with the growing lobby in the country clamoring for complete equality of LGBTQ people under the law.

A petition launched by Marriage Equality PH is seeking to pressure the Supreme Court in the Philippines to amend the constitution to permit same-sex marriage and join Taiwan in spearheading the transition towards marriage equality and LGBTQ tolerance in Asia.

Sign the petition today and raise your voice in support of LGBTQ Filipinos! Every signature counts!
Students From A Maryland High School Organize Walkout And March On Capitol Demanding Gun Control Action From Congress
September 07th, 2018
by:Yair Oded

Gun violence has spiraled out of control across America in the last two decades. Schools have been particularly vulnerable, with dozens of shootings taking place in educational institutions in recent years. So far in 2018, school shootings average at roughly one per week.

However, in responding to the tragic loss of innocent lives at schools, the current administration proposed to increase the proliferation of arms in educational institutions by arming teachers. Essentially, the President of the United States and his aids are seeking to end the cycle of violence by potentially inciting more violence, suggesting that arming school teachers will “instantly” solve the problem.

Such absurd and and dangerous sentiments were echoed by members of the National Rifle Association, who seconded the president and maintained that requiring teachers to bear arms is the most efficient way to guarantee students’ safety.

Everytown For Gun Safety, an organization committed to combating gun violence, has launched a campaign seeking to keep guns out of schools and torpedo the administration’s attempt to arm teachers.

In addition to signing the petition, one could visit Everytown For Gun Safety's website, and find information regarding upcoming events and campaigns, as well as guidelines and instructions on how to get involved locally to tackle gun violence, both in schools and in general.

Image credit: EVERYTOWN For Gun Safety
September 06th, 2018
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The hastag #BringHerBack is circulating currently on Social Media. It was created by Lech Wałęsa, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Poland. The woman who must be braught back is Lyudmyla Kozlovska.

Lyudmyla has been living in Poland for ten years now, being married to a Pole for five. Since her husband started protesting publicly against the politics of the ruling party PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość - Law and Justice), the difficulties started: the authorities performed numerous audits on Lyudmyla’s Open Dialog Foundation - an NGO defending human rights in post-Soviet states. The government’s motion to place the foundation under receivership was denied by a court and the audits had no outcome.

The next drastic step was to expell the young woman from the country by entering an alert in the Schengen Information System (SIS), resulting in immediate deportation from the Schengen zone. The method and circumstances in which it was done, raise serious concerns of infringement of the European treaties by Poland.

A petition against Lyudmyla Kozlovskas ban from the Schengen zone on was first signed by Wałęsa last week. Today it counts 28.800 signatures.

Feel encouraged to support Lyudmyla in her right to return home to the EU, allowing her to reconnect with her family in Poland, as well as continue the work of her human rights foundation on EU territory without the risk of future deportation - help to #BringHerBack!
September 05th, 2018
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

The court imposed deadline to reunite migrant children and parents separated by the U.S. government’s zero tolerance policy had passed over a month ago. Yet, more than 500 migrant children remain in government-contracted shelters with no prospect of seeing their parents in the foreseeable future (either because the latter have yet to be located, failed to pass background checks, or were already deported).

Even those who already were reunited with their parents are often held in detention facilities under harsh conditions, and have to cope with the anxiety surrounding their parents’ looming deportation. Parents facing immediate deportation are torn between taking their children with them or leaving them behind to try and fight for their chance for a future in the United States.

It is crucial that the public and media remain attuned to the devastating plight of separated migrant families, and pressure the authorities to drastically improve the treatment they’re afforded, ensure their ability to properly lodge asylum claims, and reunite children with their parents.

In the meantime, there are several ways in which you can help.

The Young Center for Migrant Children Rights  is an organization advocating on behalf of migrant children, including those who are currently separated from their parents. Visit their website to learn more details about the reality and conditions of separated migrant children. They also offer numerous volunteer opportunities (including organized visits to meet with detained migrant children and opportunities for attorneys to volunteer their services), information on how to contact one’s local representatives and pressure them to take action, as well as an option to donate.

The Texas Civil Rights Project is an organization that works tirelessly to reunite migrant families and provide them with proper legal representation as they face the lengthy and intricate immigration proceedings. Visit their website to learn about volunteer opportunities they offer or make a donation if volunteering is not a viable option for you.
September 05th, 2018
by:Yair Oded

Despite being proved as harmful and destructive, “ex-gay therapy” is, unfortunately, alive and well across the United States. According to a recent study by the Williams Institute at UCLA, at least 22,000 LGBTQ youths in the U.S. will undergo conversion therapy before the age of 18. This type of ‘therapy’, which aims to convert LGBTQ people into straight, has been shown to have catastrophic repercussions, ranging from anxiety and severe depression to suicide.

Alarmed by the prevalence of such dangerous “therapy”, several states have already banned its practice by state-licensed therapists for people under 18. California spearheaded the wave in 2012, and has since been joined by 11 other states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, 40 municipal bans are being reviewed and deliberated on by local jurisdictions in states across the country.

Alas, in over 30 states, including liberal New York, ‘ex-gay therapy’ for minors is still practiced and is perfectly legal.

A momentum is currently building to pressure legislators to ban gay conversion therapy, as over 50 bills and resolutions are circulating through 24 states, and public awareness is being increasingly drawn to this pressing issue.

A petition launched by Max Johnson at seeks to utilize this growing momentum and push the remaining 75% of states to outlaw ‘ex-gay therapy’.

Please consider joining the 27 thousand people who have already signed the petition, and raise your voice against gay conversion therapy.  

While such bans and regulations don’t prevent religious or spiritual advisers (who are responsible for the majority of ex-gay therapy cases in the U.S.) from providing such sinister services, it will nonetheless reduce the amount of youths that are subject to conversion therapy, and further erode the tragic misperception that being LGBTQ is something one is ought to be cured from.

Image credit:
September 03rd, 2018
type:NGO, Project
by:Yair Oded

As waves of migrants and asylum seekers continue to arrive in Europe, racism and xenophobia intensify among local populations whose fears are exacerbated by populist politicians and owing to a lack of knowledge of the root cause of the migration crisis.

In Eastern Europe, the rising hatred towards North African and Middle Eastern migrants ties directly to deep-rooted racist inclinations that afflicted this part of the continent for many decades, arguably due to religious zeal and lack of ethnic diversity.

NEVER AGAIN, a Poland-based ‘anti-racism’ organization made dispelling hatred and promoting tolerance its primary mission. Founded in 1996, the organization operates across Poland, as well as in other countries in Eastern and Central Europe, in an attempt to “ promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society.” NEVER AGAIN’s objectives are raising awareness of racism (among both local populations and internationally), and formulating a strong movement to tackle and eliminate xenophobic sentiments from all spheres of life in Eastern Europe.

The organization’s two primary areas of focus are eradicating racist tendencies among the youth through pro-tolerance education and tackling xenophobia in football stadiums (which proves to be a dire plague across Eastern Europe).

The organization provides periodic reports to both local and international media outlets and journalists regarding trends of racism in Eastern Europe, and organizes fairs, events, football matches, and workshops aimed at promoting tolerance.

Supporting local organizations, such as NEVER AGAIN, that focus on educating the young generation and inspiring them to renounce racism, is an effective way to tame the wave of xenophobia raging across the Western World.

Visit NEVER AGAIN’s website to learn about their ongoing projects and programs, help spread the information they compile on trends and manifestations of racism, and donate to their cause.

Image credit: NEVER AGAIN
August 31st, 2018
by:Yair Oded

By the end of the week, India could strip as many as 7 million Muslim residents of Assan state of their citizenship and subject them to indefinite imprisonment.

On July 30th, 2018, the final draft of the National Registration of Citizens (NRC) bill will be voted on by the Indian Parliament. As part of the law, residents of Bengali descent who migrated to India beginning in the colonial times will be required to prove their Indian citizenship. Those who fail to do so will be regarded as stateless and be placed in one of the state’s prison camps.

Muslims are expected to be disproportionately affected by the new law, as a result of poor documentation and prolonged discrimination towards them, which was exacerbated under the rule of PM Narendra Modi of the ruling Hindu nationalist party- BJP.

As indicated by prominent human rights figures across the globe, this is nothing short of a genocide in the making. The situation unfolding in Assan bears terrifying resemblance to those preceding nearly every genocide throughout history: ongoing discrimination and violence towards a group, revocation of citizenship, internment… and murder.

Avaaz launched a petition calling to pressure the international community to intervene and prevent the catastrophe before it takes place.

Avaaz wrote on their website, “This is how genocides begin - how the nightmare of the Rohingya began. But it’s all unfolding quietly -- if we raise a massive alarm calling for the UN Secretary-General and key governments to intervene - we can stop this horror before it starts.”  

Sign the petition today and join the growing clamor to save the Assan Muslims.

For more information on the bill and targeting of Assan muslims, read the Genocide watch alert:

Image credit: Avaaz
August 29th, 2018
type:Education, NGO
by:Yair Oded

It’s becoming difficult to keep track of the various calamities caused by the Trump administration. In virtually all areas, from trade to conservation to immigration to healthcare, the U.S. government has pursued unscrupulous policies that put people’s rights and the future of the planet at risk. In such a state of bewilderment, with morbid headlines popping up incessantly, it’s hard to stay focused, remain engaged, and take action.

To that end, multiple organizations and media outlets have compiled orderly timelines that detail the actions taken by Trump and his administration on a particular issue, to ensure that citizens remain conscious of the bigger picture and fully informed as they embark on their protest of choice.

Here are two such guides we particularly recommend:

Tracking Trump is a website operated by Planned Parenthood, which lists every policy enacted by the Trump administration with regard to health care and reproductive rights. The website also details precisely who are the individuals involved in crafting, supporting, and enacting the policies, and explains who are the people impacted by them.

Mother Jones has created a timeline which lists every development pertaining to the Trump- Russia collusion case, beginning in Trump’s real estate ties to Russia in the mid 80’s, and spanning all across his pre and post election period until the present. As the FBI and Mueller investigations unspool, it is crucial that people remain aware of the case’s developments and ramifications, as it bears great impact on the future of American (and potentially global) democracy. If you have any tips, leads, or information to contribute, please email Mother Jones directly at

Image credit: Planned Parenthood