What are human rights? All human beings fundamentally possess the rights defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as dignity, freedom, and equality. These rights should not be limited by distinctions such as nationality, beliefs, gender, orientation, ethnicity, status or age.
Who are we? The Newman Smith Human Rights Forum is a group of upstanding students dedicated to improving the lives of all people by advocating for the principles of human rights.
How do we affect change? The Human Rights Forum meets to discuss global and local human rights issues and engage in civic activities such as writing to political representatives, creating awareness campaigns, and organizing fundraising and volunteer opportunities.
When was the Human Rights Forum founded? The Human Rights Forum was formed in the 2013-2014 school year by a previous student president Blaire McClure with our sponsors, Mrs. Cullins and Ms. Hardy.
Invited guest speakers, such as Shirley Moxley, director of local nonprofitTraffick911, who shared with us concerning the prevalence of human trafficking right here in Texas, and Amy Merk, program director of the nonprofit ConnecTeach, who partnered with us to create an exhibit for the community.
Organized awareness campaigns and fundraisers, such as hosting a community-wide showing of the documentary Girl Rising, which highlights the global issue of gender inequality in education, raising $2,400 for girls’ education; selling bracelets made by Nepalese survivers of human trafficking to raise funds for safe houses, tighter border patrols, and fair trade jobs; and selling water bottles to bring light to global sanitation issues.
Participated in events, such as the Partnership Walk to raise awareness of global poverty, GLSEN Day of Silence, multiple speaker events hosted by the World Affairs Council, the International Career Day at UT-Arlington, the Academic WorldQuest competition, and the Education as a Human Right Conference as SMU.
Created events, such as partnering with Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy to host the first student led Conference on Education as a Human Right.
How can you join? Any Smith student interested in promoting human rights is welcome to join. Speak to Ms. Behnisch, or any HRF member about joining, or just come by to a meeting. If serious about joining, please fill out an application and return it by email to Ms. Behnisch at firstname.lastname@example.org.