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March 29th, 2019

Join the Sunrise Movement and help make the Green New Deal a reality

type:NGO, Petition, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Often left out of the discourse about the Green New Deal is the fact that a key player in penning, launching, and promoting the comprehensive initiative is the Sunrise Movement—a grassroots youth movement dedicated to eliminate the influence of oil on politics and halt climate change.

The movement is comprised of “an army of young people” who work tirelessly to make climate change a top priority for policy makers. They do so through a wide range of community outreach and advocacy campaigns.

From co-authoring the Green New Deal (which is now sponsored by more than politicians and public figures) to organizing meetings in living rooms, schools, and community centers across the United States, the organization’s members are successfully galvanizing Americans around this important cause. The organization’s focus is training and mobilizing America’s youth to become leaders in the fight against climate change.

Their message is crystal clear: the profit of a handful of oil and fossil fuel industry giants cannot dictate policy or determine the course of history. It is time to embrace greener technologies, uplift working-class communities throughout the transition process, and halt climate change. The time to do this is now, and there isn’t a second to waste.

Please visit their website for information about their upcoming events and learn about ways to get involved and attend trainings, and pressure your representative to throw their support behind the Green New Deal.

Image credit: Michael Brochstein / SOPA / Getty via The New Yorker
March 22nd, 2019
type:Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Whether due to violence, abuse, poverty, hunger, or neglect, millions of Indian children escape their homes and attempt to reach big cities via trains.

Alas, once they arrive at the railway stations, many of them lose their way and fall prey to exploitation, kidnapping, substance abuse, and hunger.

It’s been reported that every five minutes a child arrives alone on a platform in India, and that as many as 11 million children live on the streets across the country.

Railway Children is a nonprofit which advocates for and protects street children around the world, as well as in India.

In India, the organization operates on three levels: In the streets—where they tend to the immediate needs of street children and help them finds a safe space; in communities—where they work to increase the visibility of street children and their needs, through, for instance, prevention interventions and the establishing of ‘safety nets’ for children; and  in government, where the organization lobbies on behalf of street children and urges policy makers to make their plight a legislative priority.

Railway Children report that last year they reached and protected 8,338 children in streets, government homes, and local communities.

Please visit their website to learn about their volunteer opportunities, events, and campaigns.

Image credit: Ondrej via Flickr

March 20th, 2019
by:Yair Oded

Back in August 2018, Greta Thunberg, 16, began skipping school every Friday and sat outside the Swedish Parliament in protest against their failure to address climate change issues and curb emissions.

Since then, Thunberg’s tenacity has inspired countless youths from across the globe to unite under the Youth 4 Climate movement. Last Friday, students from more than 90 countries and 1,200 cities staged a globally coordinated strike and took to the streets to demand action on climate change.

Recognizing that some public figures have criticized the kids for lacking scientific knowledge to justify their action, a group of German-speaking scientists launched a petition titled Scientists for Future in support of Youth 4 Climate.

In their petition, the scientists announce, “As scientists and scholars, and based on sound scientific knowledge, we declare: These concerns are justified and supported by the best available science. The current measures for climate, biodiversity, forest, marine, and soil protection are far from sufficient.”

The scientists urge world governments to take the necessary actions to limit global warming to 1.5 °C by eliminating coal burning by 2030 and ending all CO2 emissions between 2040 and 2050.

Thus far, more than 23,000 scientists have signed this urgent plea for action.

If you happen to belong to the scientific community, please do join the growing clamor to reduce emissions and mitigate global warming by adding your name to the petition.

Image credit: The Conversation
March 19th, 2019
type:NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Despite having the most progressive constitution in the African continent, South Africa still grapples with rampant poverty and human rights violations—ranging from gender based violence to limited access to education.

As the country mentions its human rights month, in commemoration of the struggle for democracy, special attention is placed on the vast inequalities still prevalent in South Africa and on the methods in which they can be tackled.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) is a human rights organization dedicated to assisting individuals, communities, and social movements in the effort to protect their socio-economic rights.

Founded in 2009, the organization engages in expansive litigation, research, and advocacy efforts in order to advance and defend South Africans’ constitutional rights to water, housing, healthcare, fair labor practices, education, children’s rights, and more. SERI mostly operates in major South African cities, however some of its outreach work extends to rural provinces and areas as well.

SERI’s stance is that, “it is the people who are on the receiving end of poverty and inequality who are best placed to devise and implement strategies to challenge them,” and thus it seeks to also protect the spaces in which such individuals and communities can advocate for their own agendas for change.

Please visit SERI's website to learn more about their work and open volunteer/internship positions.

Image credit: SERI website.
March 13th, 2019
by:Yair Oded

News about the purge of queers in Chechnya began to circulate, as more testimonies emerged from the southern Russian territory run by the tyrannical religious zealot Ramzan Kadyrov.

Since December 2018, a new wave of anti-queer purges began in Chechnya, with mounting reports about kidnap, imprisonment, torture, and even murder of individuals suspected to be LGBTQ.

The Russian LGBT Network is s non-governmental organization operating in Russia and Chechnya to protect the rights and lives of LGBTQ individuals. In addition to relentless advocacy work and the circulation of information aimed at increasing visibility of queer people and public awareness of their plight, the members of the organization operate a secret network of shelters for LGBTQ individuals persecuted across Russia.

They also smuggle food, medicine, and clothing to victims of the Chechen purge and help evacuate them to safety in the West.   

The organization depends on small donations to in order to maintain its crucial work and save lives in Chechnya and Russia.

Please visit their website to learn more about their work and place a donation.

Image credit: TheGayUK.
March 13th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO
by:Yair Oded

The war raging in Afghanistan which often escapes global attention is that of Afghan women, who till this day remain marginalized in virtually all aspects of life.From education to healthcare to employment— Afghan women are often unable to access crucial services and enjoy the full rights of citizenship.

Despite the downfall of the Taliban regime, which control the country in the 1990’s, women in many parts of the country are still subject to arbitrary arrests and punishment (such as public lashings) for violating ‘moral codes’. The government also fails to properly protect women who are subject to domestic violence and abuse.

Since its foundation in 2011, Women for Afghan Women (WAW), has been working to fill in the gaps and support thousands of Afghan women and children in need throughout 13 provinces in the country.

Using grassroots tactics, WAW offer services such as refugee assistance, emergency medical care, legal aid and mediation, and elaborate human rights training in local communities for both women and men. WAW also operates long-term shelters for women and children who were victims of violence and abuse.

Additionally, the organization utilizes its New York and Washington, D.C. offices to provide support to female Afghan migrants in the United States (many of whom are asylum seekers), and lobby on behalf of them in the capital, so that lawmakers would take into consideration the human rights violations and challenges faced by women in Afghanistan.

To learn more about their services and make a donation, please visit WAW’s website.

Image Credit: Robert Mark via Flickr.
March 11th, 2019
type:Crowd Funding, Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Despite some improvements occurring in LGBTQ visibility and rights around the world, being LGBTQ is still legallly criminalized in over 70 countries. In 8 of those countries, being LGBTQ or engaging in same-sex sexual activity is punishable by death.

From murderous purges in Chechnya to executions in Saudi Arabia and violent attacks and torture in Africa and the Caribbean- queer people’s lives are still at risk in large swaths of the planet.   

Modeled after the monumental Underground Railroad, the Rainbow Railroad (RR) is a nonprofit organization working tirelessly to help LGBTQ people escape persecution in their home countries and bring them to safety in North America and Europe.

Relying on a global network of volunteers and private donations, RR provide support, guidance, and information to LGBTQ people who are in hiding and wish to escape their home country, supply financial means for travel to safety in the West, and assist them through the assimilation and asylum process in their host countries.

At any given moment, the organization works on an average of 30-50 cases of LGBTQ people seeking to flee danger in their countries of origin. Under the current climate, the numbers steadily rise.

Visit their website to learn about their work and get involved.

You may donate and help cover the cost of securing an LGBTQ person’s path to freedom (which averages at roughly $10,000), host a fundraising event, partake in sponsoring cases of newly arrived LGBTQ refugees in Canada, or volunteer with RR.

Image credit: Rainbow Railroad website.
March 08th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO, Protest, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Across the world, far-right elements have penetrated the socio-political discourse— garnering rising support of local populations by touting xenophobic sentiments and a rhetoric of “us” vs. “them”. They inspire hatred and suspicion by capitalizing on people’s most primal fears, prejudices, and insecurities— both financial and cultural.

As a result, oppression of racial minorities, immigrants, refugees, and women has exacerbated dramatically.

The Coalition Berlin is a Berlin-based NGO committed to dispelling racist and hateful sentiments and inspiring tolerance and social-equality.

They do so through a series of events, community actions, and rallies across the German capital.

“We will speak up against injustice and oppression wherever it occurs. We do not accept a world in which hate is used as a weapon and diversity seen as a threat.” the Coalition members declare in their manifesto.

Visit their website to learn more about their mission, event calendar, and ways in which you can get involved.
March 07th, 2019
type:Donation, NGO, Volunteering
by:Yair Oded

Grassroots International is an non profit organization working to forge connections between U.S. based groups and communities across the globe in order to help them tackle issues such as poverty and climate change-related disasters.

The organization places its focus on vulnerable communities in locations that range from Brazil to Asia, who deal with various socio-economic hardships and human rights violations and puts them in touch with American organizations and volunteers who can help them advance their causes.

Grassroots international organize rallies, fundraising campaigns, advocacy efforts, and operates a team of volunteers who together help to empower communities around the world in their fight for their right to land, water, and food as well as for climate justice.

Whether you’re interested in supporting indigenous people in Brazil whose lands are confiscated by the government, Guatemalan communities ravaged by mining projects, or feminist groups galvanizing support prior to Women’s Day, Grassroots International can put you in touch with local groups and situate you at the heart of the activism effort.  

Visit their website to learn how you can help spread their message and get involved.

Image credit: Grassroots International website.
March 05th, 2019
by:Yair Oded

The disastrous effects of the oil industry on our planet are acutely visible.

As stated by the IPCC in their 2018 report, the international community has to drastically reduce emissions by 2030 in order to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. This means divesting from oil and embracing new energy production technology.

Emboldened by a series of court victories against oil giants and successful climate initiatives launched by communities, civilians, nonprofits, and governments from across the globe— Greenpeace seek to step up the game and ensure that oil becomes a feature of the past.

Support Greenpeace by signing their People vs. Oil petition calling on global leaders to ban all new oil development and extraction, phase out production and sales of oil-operated vehicles, and transition to “people-centered, renewable energy and transport systems.”

You may also help by spreading the news and circulating the petition in your networks and social media platforms.

Time is of the essence. Every vote counts.

Let’s end oil. For good.

Image credit: Greenpeace website.