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November 16th, 2017

Never again: Support Poland's Antifa movement!

type:Project, Protest, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

On 11th of November, the Polish Indenpendence Day, Fascists and other far-right extremists assembled in Warsaw for a march that has become one of the largest gatherings in Europe for white supremacists. In July this year Poland’s Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro initiated a critical juridical reform, giving him the right to dismiss and exchange members of the country’s highest court without any further consultations or consent. Poland is spiraling down into facism on all levels.

NIGDY WIECEJ, meaning ‚NEVER AGAIN’, is Poland’s leading anti-racist organization. Their mission is to promote multicultural understanding and to contribute to the development of a democratic civil society in Poland and in the broader region of Central and Eastern Europe. Poland’s oldest and most organised Anti-racism organisation had existed as an informal group since 1992 and was officially registered in 1996. The association is particularly concerned with the problem of education against racial and ethnic prejudices among the young.

‚NEVER AGAIN‘ closely monitors racism and discrimination on the ground. Through its national network of voluntary correspondents and regular grass-roots contacts with various minority communities, the association has built the most extensive register of racist incidents and other xenophobic crimes committed in Poland, the so called ‚Brown Book‘. NEVER AGAIN‘ has provided expertise to institutions such as the Parliamentary Committee on Ethnic Minorities as well as consulted and influenced legislation on issues of racism and xenophobia. Among others, it successfully campaigned for a ban on racist and neo-nazi activities to be included in Poland’s Constitution. It has consulted the National Action Plan against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and many other key documents. ‚NEVER AGAIN‘ has cooperated with international organizations, including the Council of Europe, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Support the work of the ‚NEVER AGAIN‘ association, spread their news and contents through your preferred channels and participate in their actions against racism and xenophobia!
November 10th, 2017
type:Donation, NGO
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Resentments and xenophobic attitudes towards Roma and Sinti are present in Europe for centuries. Many Roma who have come as a result of the Balkan Wars to Germany as refugees, undergo multiple discrimination because they are Roma, Muslims and have applied for asylum in Germany.
Increased numbers of immigrants of Roma and other groups from Eastern Europe, whose stereotypical representation in the media, as well as deep-rooted resentment against the minority, reinforce the devaluation experiences of Roma. Discrimination determine the everyday lives of people at school, in relation to the neighborhood, with housing, at work, with authorities etc.

But also in their countries of origin, Sinti and Roma are targets of rassistic assaults, pogroms, structural discrimination. The range of discrimination ranging from social exclusion, visible on discrimination in education, the labor market market access, with housing and health care, to excessive and racist violence. A total of about 10 to 12 million Roma live in Europe.

The anti-racism policy of the EU is not or only partially implemented in some European countries. This passivity of governments endorses extremist violence against the minority. Extremists, neo-Nazis and neo-fascist groups in Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia have repeatedly attack Roma in public spaces and even in their private homes. The acts of violence against Roma are not limited to these four countries. Attacks were also recorded in France, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Serbia.

The Roma Anti-Discrimination Network (RAN) located in Göttingen/ Germany offers help to those who are or were discriminated in schools, government agencies, at work, in housing, in health care and in other places. RAN is based on an anti-discrimination network and supports the minority in their own interests on the spot. The organisation is monitoring cases of discrimination and violence against Roma and Sinti, publishes informations about reported cases and has established a legal fund for survivors of racistic attacks and discrimination for legal cases of dispute.

If you want to support this more than necessary project with a donation, you may donate into their legal fund. A donation helps affected Roma and Sinti in enforcing their rights and make a valuable contribution to the anti-discrimination work. The funds will cover the costs for translators, counseling processes, legal advice and other legal expenses.

In any case you can help RAN by spreading their news, share and like their contents, visit their events or report whitnessed cases of discrimination and racism against Roma and Sinti.
November 02nd, 2017
type:Education, NGO
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The Center for Intersectional Justice is an independent nonprofit organisation based in Berlin dedicated to advancing equality and justice for all by combating intersecting forms of structural inequality and discrimination in Europe.

The members of CIJ bring a paradigmatic shift to anti-discrimination and equality policy at national and European levels and bridge the gap between scholarly research and policymaking on issues of systemic inequality and discrimination.
CIJ seeks to influence the public discourse and impact on policymaking through direct advocacy, research and policy advice, as well as publications on issues related to intersectional discriminations based on race, gender, class and all other systems of oppression which sustain inequality.
The global network of leading lawyers, academics, practitioners, writers, and journalists cover a wide array of policy areas, ranging from employment, education, migration and asylum, to health and the securitization of European states.

Support the Centre for Intersectional Justice by

  • following them on Twitter and tag policymakers and other influencers in your country
  • Like their Facebook Page and invite all your friends
  • Subscribe to their newsletter
October 20th, 2017
type:Donation, Education, NGO, Project, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Eighty per cent of rural African people depend on small family plots for their livelihood. Most farmers have less than one hectare of land and struggle to grow enough food to survive. This is why Farm Africa, an international charity organisation based in the UK, helps farmers to increase their harvests, build their incomes and sustain natural resources, partnering with governments and the private sector to find effective ways to fight poverty.

Farm Africa works closely with local communities, who actively participate in all the decisions about their work. Typically, their staff is from the local area, can speak the local languages and have a deep understanding of the local context. The organisation has 170 staff operating across the eastern African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. They work with different types of farmers in a range of regions, from dry rangelands to lush, diverse forests. Their situations may vary, but these small-scale farmers face increasing economic and environmental challenges.

Farm Africa promotes ‘climate-smart’ approaches so farmers can manage their natural resources sustainably, become more resilient to climate change and build long-term food security. Their mix of agricultural innovation and training in effective marketing skills equips farmers to grow and earn more. Through business training and setting up farmers' groups, they can get a higher price for their crops, and by learning how to process and store their produce they reduce waste and have more crop to sell.

Farm Africa's vision is of a prosperous rural Africa. Support them by donation, volunteering or help them in their fundraising campaigns!
October 02nd, 2017
type:Donation, Petition, Protest, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Białowieża Forest in eastern Poland is Europe's last primeval forest, a priceless shared heritage. Its trees are being cut to make plywood and pallets. The only thing standing between the trees and the harvesters is the power of people’s protest.

After taking power, the current Polish government approved intensive logging in protected parts of the Forest. The excuse is fighting an outbreak of bark beetle - an argument refuted by Polish and European scientists. In reality, the wood is being sold for profit. Only since the beginning of this year more than 50,000 trees were cut down, many of them over a 100 years old.

Just a few weeks ago, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) responded to the EU Commission’s legal complaint and ordered Poland to halt logging to prevent irreversible damage, before the Court issues its final judgement. But the Polish authorities have ignored all demands to save the Forest, voices of scientists and NGOs, protests, petitions, UNESCO’s demands and even the ECJ’s order, making Poland the first ever EU country to defy a decision of the Court.

Is there no power that can stop them?

On the ground, they’re called Defenders of the Forest. The people who stop harvesters, block the roads and disrupt the logging, sometimes with their own bodies. In doing so they save hundreds of trees from being lost. Now many face harassment, fines, court cases and physical violence. To keep going, they need to know they’re not alone - and to stay safe, they need visibility.

Help bringing more public attention to what is happening in the Białowieża Forest by sharing this article, sign the Open Letter of the Defenders of the Forest or donate money to them. With your help, you’re not just showing your solidarity - you’re becoming a Defender of the Forest yourself!
September 06th, 2017
type:Allgemein, NGO, Project, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

At the outset, Trans Diamond is a 5-day long festival dedicated to celebrate diversity and be the platform for active citizenship and international collaboration. The festival contains a set of distinctive events that brings world leading transgender activists, like-minded corporations, government bodies, communities, civil societies, leading LGBTIQ* groups, artists, film-makers and policy makers together. The larger aim of the festival is to foster international collaboration and accelerate the movement.

Transgender movement across the world has reached an accelerated phase where the community is fighting for basic rights, identity and acceptance. Despite the increasing acceptance and mainstream media discussion, transgender individuals still face socio-economical
and systemic barriers across the world. These challenges make it important for an international cooperation to foster the empowerment of transgender individuals.

Using Arts as tool for social change, the Festival draws attention to a wide range of issues faced by the transgender community. Leveraging the power of creative and performing arts, the Festival aims to catalyse the struggle for equal rights, acceptance and sensitize society. The Festival will also identify leaders from within the community, build capacities to engage in a
dialogue with policy-makers and society at large to highlight pertinent issues. Right from capacity building workshops, open forum to film festival, social beauty pageant and a musical performance, the Festival is a confluence of arts, intellect, humanity and hope.

If you work within the sector of transgender rights, are committed to driving positive social change within your community and/or are just a passionate and a concerned citizen - get involved and contribute to create a festival for all!
August 30th, 2017
type:Authors, Donation, Education, Project, Volunteering
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Entering the War Childhood Museum in the historical centre of Sarajevo, the first thing visitors can see is a colorful swing for children. An item like any other, one might think, until one reads a text on the wall describing its history and meaning for a small boy somewhere in the Yugoslavian countryside, in a region of what is today the nation of Bosnia and Hercegovina. This little swing was the only thing which made him forget the miseries and difficulties, the loss and pain a child has to endure when it witnesses war. And saved his life while his house was bombed down.

The War Childhood Museum opened in Sarajevo in January 2017. The Museum‘s collection contains a number of personal belongings like the before mentioned colorful swing, next to many more stories, audio and video testimonies, photographs, letters, drawings and other documents offering valuable insight into the unique experience of growing up in wartime. The idea started with a book: In June 2010, the author of the project Jasminko Halilović (29) launched a call for people who spent a part of their childhood in war to send a short answer to the question ‘What was a war childhood for you?’ In the first three months, over 1,000 people from 35 different countries sent their memories. The idea was to tell the stories of war survivors by creating a mosaic of memories out of these short and unique attachments. The edition of these recollections, initially supposed to last for several months, in the end lasted for about two years. The book which gathered these memories with the title "War Childhood - Sarajevo 1992-1995" was finally published in 2013. During this time, Halilovic kept staying in touch with 1000 of the participants. Inspired by their different stories as well as by their personal belongings shown to him, Halilović elaborated the concept of ‘War Childhood Museum’, which was finally realized four years later.

The crucial part of the War Childhood Museum represents this collection of personal belongings of war survivors. However, these objects do not express much if standing on their own. Their importance lies exactly in the meaning they have for their owner. Therefore, every item that is displayed in the Museum is accompanied by a personal story of its owner, like the little swing which saved a small boy from being hit by a granade.

If you would like to support this greatly humane project, you can support the War Childhood team by visiting the museum, volunteering as a team member, helping them financially by buying the book "War Childhood - Sarajevo 1992-1995" or you may promote it in your circles of preference.
August 23rd, 2017
type:Authors, Donation, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

Cold metal of handcuffs on his wrists, accusing gazes watching every move he does - the Turkish writer Doğan Akhanlı knows this situation too well from his former life in Turkey. But this time it is not Turkey, but the Spanish state that makes the author and political activist remember his darkest days in prison in his home country. Living in Germany since the 1990s as an exiled author, Akhanlı went on a regular holiday trip with his family to Granada in Spain. A day after his arrival the Spanish police knocked on his hotel room door, heavily armed and in bullet proof vests- as if he would be a dangerous criminal.

Since 2013 the Turkish government is carrying out an extradition procedure against him. Akhanlı is accused for participating in a robbery in 1989 during his time as a political activist. Eyewitnesses said he was not the culprit. After his trial and acquittal in Turkey, he left his country of origin to live in Germany - a place where he felt safe from the threatening Turkish authorities. After years of living and travelling safely through Europe the international police cooperation INTERPOL finally reacted to his case with new accusations: Terrorism and an attempt to overthrow the government. "I believe the state cannot bear my acquittal," Akhanlı explains. His lawyer suspects that he was spied on by the Spanish authorities - in a time of mass accusations, detainments and trials initiated by the current Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In his novels, essays, interviews and in his projects, Doğan Akhanlı continually argues for the true treatment of historical violence and the indivisibility of human rights - topics of his own life until this very present moment: For 40 days Akhanlı will not be allowed to leave Spain. For 40 days he is required to report to the local authorities once per week. The costs for a Spanish and a German lawyer taking care of his case will ruin him and his family. For this reason, the German center of the international writers association P.E.N. calls for donations to help the author in this difficult situation. The money donated is used exclusively for the costs arising in context of this legal dispute. Should a surplus remain, the amount would benefit the Writers-in-Prison program of the P.E.N. Center Germany, a project committed to persecuted and imprisoned authors and journalists. Donations go to:

PEN-Zentrum Deutschland e.V

„Dogan Akhanli“.

Volksbank Darmstadt-Südhessen eG

IBAN: DE22 5089 000 0058 9207 11

August 16th, 2017
type:Petition, Protest
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

The big payment processing companies - Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover - are processing funds for some of the vilest white supremacist groups - including the groups behind the racial terrorism in Charlottesville.

White supremacist hubs are able to easily receive funding from their members because these companies are allowing them to. And thanks to transaction fees, these companies are making money every time someone donates to these hate groups.

White supremacist groups like Stormfront have played a major role in the recent and rapid rise in anti-Black, anti-Jewish and anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in the last year and a half. These groups plot to turn their hatred into violence. Stormfront users have been disproportionately responsible for some of the most lethal hate crimes and mass killings since the site was put up in 1995. In the past decade alone, Stormfront members have murdered close to 100 people. Other hate groups, like Label 56, Crew 38, National Alliance and Northwest Front have been responsible for the radicalization of terrorists like the Charleston shooter Dylann Roof or Wade Michael Page.

By profiting from donations to hate groups these companies are directly enabling the rising violence and vitriol directed at marginalized communities. Help stopping corporate funders of hate groups and sign the petition on Color Of Change! Show them which credit card YOU use to make them see just how many of the users are outraged!
August 10th, 2017
type:Crowd Funding, Donation, Project
by:Deniz Zehra Tavli

A Serbian drama therapist, a swiss drug expert, an Armenian performace artist and a former monk from India- what do these different people and their professons have in common? They are all changemakers. The three young filmmakers Halea, Luisa and Friedi from Berlin decided to portrait these people who are part of their circle of friends and acquaintances and created this great movie about personalities with inspiring life projects as an inspiration and appeal to take responsibility, dream and act upon it.

The movie's title "Transmodernity" is an umbrella term that addresses a socioeconomic, political and philosophical shift way beyond our globalised hyper-capitalist world. It is an exemplary term that could be used to describe the new age that we are diving into. While being critical of modernity and postmodernity, it takes the best elelments of both – trans-forming our society into something improved. Old systems that over the course of time, proved to not work out need to be reformed from within. The makers of "Transmodernity- In The Blue Hour" suggest to stay playful, have courage and optimism that people can make a difference collectively if they take responsibility as individuals.

If you liked the idea of this film and got inspired, you have the possibility to support Halea, Luisa and Friedi with their project via kickstarter. Only a few hours are left!