Annual Human Rights Day scheduled for March 7

Indiana State University will host the 16th Terre Haute Human Rights Day on Tuesday, March 7, at Hulman Memorial Student Union.

The event is free and open to the public.

This year, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Attorney Advisor Merilyn D. Brown will be featured as the keynote speaker. During her address, Brown will discuss housing discrimination among other issues.

As attorney advisor in the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Ms. Brown was nominated three times as “Outstanding Federal Employee,” and received the Jonathan Corner Service Award in 2014 by the Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Agencies for her expertise in fair housing and for providing training and support to the state’s agencies in the field of civil and human rights.

Ms. Brown is the former director of the Fair Housing Enforcement Division, Office of Investigations in Washington, D.C. She is an adjunct professor of The John Marshall Law School. She received the John Marshall Law School Alumni Distinguished Service Award recognizing her achievements in the practice of law and the significant contributions she has made to her community.

Following Ms. Brown’s keynote address, which begins at 9:30 a.m., three sessions of workshops have been scheduled in various locations within Hulman Memorial Student Union (HMSU), beginning with five workshops at 11 a.m.

Attorney Kristin Fleschner, Foreign Affairs officer at the United States Department of State, will present “Americans with Disabilities: A personal story,” in Dede II. Fleschner will share her personal story as a blind individual and how her disability impacted her experience at law school and now in the working world and life. Her message is that people with disabilities can do everything that a non-disabled person does.

“We just approach tasks and life a bit differently,” she said.

Also at 11 a.m., Indiana State University (ISU) Professor Dr. Georgianna Duarte will also present “Stop Child Trafficking” in Dede I. Duarte is an early childhood professor and chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Bayh College of Education. While living near the United States-Mexico border, she volunteered for the Young Center of Immigrant Children’s Rights.

Other 11 a.m. speaking engagements include “Human Rights in Honduras,” by Chicago-based 8th Day Center for Justice representatives Liz Deligio and Sister of Providence Kathleen Desautels (Dede III); “International Women’s Day,” by ISU Professor Dr. Lori Henson (H MSU Room 307); and “Social Justice Studies at Indiana State University,” by ISU Professor Dr. Ralph Leck (HMSU Room 321).

The 12:40 p.m. sessions will be highlighted by the presentation “Pictorial Documentary of the Dakota Pipeline,” by Colombian and American photographer Alexandra McNichols-Torroledo, in the Sycamore Banquet Center. McNichols-Torroledo specializes in issues of land exploitation affecting indigenous people in North and South America. In the late fall of 2016, she traveled to the pipeline site to document the raising concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council.

McNichols-Torroledo will also offer her session at 2 p.m., again in the Sycamore Banquet Center.

Also at 12:40 p.m., humanitarian and Help4Refugees founder Jordan Hattar will offer “Voices of Syria,” in Dede I. Using his own story, Hattar hopes to encourage and inspire students to discover what they are passionate about, while finding out where their greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.

Other 12:40 p.m., speaking engagements include “Verbing Ally: What does it Mean to be an Aspiring Ally to the LGBTQIA Community,” by Indiana Youth Group Director of Programs and Training Myranda Warden (Dede II); “Human Rights Post Election” by Amnesty International Senior Field Organizer Ernest Coverson (Dede III); “The Dangers of Sexting,” by Terre Haute Police Department Officer Ryan Adamson (HMSU Room 307); and “Keep It Real RX” a game which provides a safe space for people to explore and share memories out loud (HMSU Room 321).

The 2 p.m. sessions will be highlighted by the presentation “President Donald J. Trump, the Emoluments Clause and other lawsuits,” offered by Wagner Crawford & Gambill Law Offices Attorney Chris Gambill. During the segment, Gambill will discuss the Emoluments Clause, as well as current lawsuits and their implications against President Trump. Gambill is a native of Terre Haute and has practiced law at Wagner Crawford & Gambill since 1987.

In addition, Indiana Chapter of Unite Here Local 23 President Stuart Mora will offer “Organizing and Winning: Building a 21st Century Union,” in Dede II, also at 2 p.m. Mora got involved with the union when he was 23 years old, working in food service in Indianapolis.

Other 2 p.m. speaking engagements include “Human Rights in Honduras,” by Chicago-based 8th Day Center for Justice representatives Liz Deligio and Sister of Providence Kathleen Desautels (Dede III); and “Myths and facts about Raising the Minimum Wage,” by Forward Together Terre Haute organization member and Sister of Providence Sister Rosemary Schmalz (HMSU Room 307).