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Peace Event

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Paul Hillman

PARTICIPANTS OF all ages/backgrounds were present @ Chandler-Gilbert Community College to experience from 10:00-3:30: "Mission Human Rights-SUPPORT, ADVOCATE, & CELEBRATE" on Sat., Nov. 23, 2019.

The project was sponsored by Chandler Gilbert Community College's One World Committee & the Cultural Arts Coalition (CAC). Major funding provided through the Ruth McCormick Tankersley Charitable Trust.

Margie Gomez, Business adjunct faculty, chair of One World, & Dr Melanie Ohm, Music adjunct faculty, Director of the CAC, set the ground work for this day long community event which featured and celebrated student videos produced in the classroom, engaging discipline-based content. Other activities of the day were numerous...

Local humanities, civic & arts organizations were present to provide resources about their services and for everyone to secure United Nations' declared Human Rights information. Art making experiences allowed people to make cultural connections, reflect on human rights issues & have FUN! Included below are mandalas outlined by Oliverio Balcells, chalk colored by participants. Also elastic cord, beaded bracelet making: beads as symbols to promote Compassion & Peace facilitated by Judy Butzine (CAC).

Two students volunteered, Emma & Alec, to assist participants in creating origami Cranes; learning the true story concerning Sadako young Japanese girl who died as a result of radiation from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. We honor "Sadako's" memory and ask for peace around the world as a means to end hatred...Very thoughtful activity.

Student human rights videos were created within campus classrooms over the semester, facilitated by faculty in a variety of disciplines, including business, psychology, music, engineering and English. They were evaluated by judges following a criteria focused on human rights' research the day before the Saturday event. Beaded medallions and certificates were presented late Saturday morning in an assembly hall for all to celebrate. Judges selected 3 one-minute student videos, each video representing a group of 4-6 students. The judges have all known Melanie for more than 2 decades. They share collaborative lifelong work, intertwining with one another during varied social justice, educational and cultural community programs. This is their journey! Rj Shannon, Deanie Wlodek & Judy Butzine.

Many Youth for Human Rights educator resource kits were distributed by Youth for Human Rights Representative Michelle Bryant. These materials are free for educators and students to examine and explore during classroom discussions, an essential support for the classroom video project. To learn more, contact:

Brazilian educator Paulo Freire states, "If students are not able to transform their lived experiences into KNOWLEDGE and to use their already acquired knowledge to unveil new knowledge, they will never be able to participate rigorously in a dialogue as a means of learning and knowing" Freire, Paulo, 2000, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th Anniversary Ed., New York: Continuum International Publishing Co., p.19.

Criteria for selection of Human Rights video winners "Everyone has the Right to an Education"
2nd place winners "No More Torture" 3rd Place winners "Gender Equality"

U.N. Declaration of Human Rights Preamble: "Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people." Eleanor Roosevelt, head of the United Nations Human Rights Commission and a primary contributor in formulating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Other college campus activities throughout the morning were not only organized by Margie & Melanie, but participants from the Cultural Arts Coalition and Chandler-GilbertCommunity College One World Committee under the guidance of Academic Dean Chris Schnick.

CAC Mission: The Cultural Arts Coalition of Arizona (CAC) 501 (c)3 incorporated in 2005, facilitates and promotes multidisciplinary arts, history and cultural experiences through educational youth and adult programming, storytelling, exhibitions and celebrations, purposefully documenting each experience for community reflection.

Keith Johnson, Commissioned Artist w/ the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Arizona Arts Commission, Wolf Trap Head Start Programs and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. He is a longtime participant with the CAC and serves on its Board of Directors. Keith captures hearts through interdisciplinary arts and cultural experiences which include percussion, song, instrument making, storytelling and costuming. His work is grounded in honoring the earth & the interconnected unity of all individuals, embracing all ages & cultural backgrounds.

Following lunch people gathered for a community conversation: "What is Native Sovereignty?" outlined by Gila River elder Barnaby Lewis & Freddie Johnson, AZ Tribal elder/teacher who provided the opening and closing blessings. Cultural resources of Hopi artist/architect Dennis Numkena were presented as painted stories of the Hopi people who have lived on their land since time immemorial (Hopi Elder) This conversation was initiated by a Gila River student at Chandler Gilbert CC, Mel Sanderson.

Afternoon session from 1:00-3:30, also provided this interactive discussion for the students, community college staff and community participants. The audience was very grateful for an opportunity to learn more concerning Native Sovereignty. Thank you Melanie & Margie.

By 1:30 the vital discussion of the day: "What is Native Sovereignty?" was outlined by Gila River elder, Barnaby Lewis, for the audience to reflect upon one's understanding of Native Americans' Human Rights. Questions from the group were answered by Mr. Lewis. It was a very thoughtful and meaningful overview of this important Native American legal challenge.

During the closing celebration of the day we experienced movement to the drum beat of the earth by Navajo dancer Jared Brown, a nationally recognized Pow Wow performer accompanied by a tribal drummer/singer...We were All Connected!

Once again the afternoon discussion was designed by the facilitators of the co-sponsored Saturday program. Please note acknowledgement, Saturday's events may not have occurred without the assistance of Professor Enjolie Lafaurie, faculty development coordinator, who partnered with Melanie in developing resources for implementation of the Human Rights Video Project in classrooms.

There are many individuals who hold a place in our world for social justice and human rights (Judy, Melanie, Mitra & Deanie in picture above). The dialogues begin with each one of us in our communities and schools...Human Rights are not a new historic concept. They began in Persia. The Cyrus Cylinder was dubbed the "first declaration of human rights" 539538 BC...Thank you Mitra Kamali (CAC artist, engineer, CAC Board Member) for bringing us this awareness & these beautiful artworks.

Again, thank you Michelle Bryant for generously giving access to Human Rights resources for students and teachers throughout our greater AZ. communities.

So much gratitude to all for organizing the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Human Rights' programming including students, teachers & community members promoting and supporting many Arts & Dialogue activities. This collaborative, educational project was announced a huge success!

Thank you to Everyone for your passion and participation!

It was a rich day of many conversations for one to thoughtfully reflect upon & understand. Much appreciation for this opportunity initiated by Margie and Melanie: They are both TRUE VISIONARIES!

Photo Narrative created by Judy Butzine (CAC)

All photos submitted per permission of the individuals pictured.