Fourteen Human Rights Fellows have been selected from five University of California campuses this year. Since 1994, the Human Rights Center has enabled 274 students to work with human rights organizations worldwide. The fellowships are made possible by Dr. Thomas J. White.
Tõ Như Đào
M.S.W. ’15, School of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley
San Francisco Department of Public Health—Transgender Health Services (San Francisco, CA)
Tõ Như will partner with the San Francisco Department of Public Health Transgender Health Services to develop and coordinate a 2-month program, offering services, support, and training for uninsured and underinsured transgender and gender non-conforming San Francisco residents interested in or seeking surgical services. This program will follow a peer-to-peer model in an attempt to increase community self-efficacy and awareness of pre- and post-op management, as well as bring in more representation of community members in the provider and professional health setting. Tõ Như will build on the Transgender Health Services’ community education programs by systematically collecting pilot data to assess community satisfaction and program impact to inform future programming and services.
Ph.D. student, Department of Political Science, UC Berkeley
Civil Society Coalition for Peace and Democratic Development (Côte d’Ivoire)
Justine will work with the Civil Society Coalition for Peace and Democratic Development (COSOPCI) in Côte d’Ivoire as they conduct voter education campaigns in the run-up to the October 2015 presidential elections. She will utilize her background in human rights and citizenship curriculum development to offer insight and guidance on improving the content to better include strategies to mitigate violence and enhance citizen understandings of the electoral process. She will also work with COSOPCI to develop and administer a survey throughout the country in order to assess the impact of voter education interventions on citizens’ values and beliefs.
Ph.D. student, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley
Prudence (Dakar, Senegal)
Jason will join a grassroots public health organization in Senegal. The organization provides HIV support and prevention services to vulnerable populations. A key part of Jason’s work will be to increase the organization’s capacity to move beyond providing public health services to the development of a human rights-based approach. His research will track this transformation, focusing on its cultural and political dimensions. In addition, he will provide direct support in fundraising, program development, and evaluation activities.
M.A. student, Social Documentation program, UC Santa Cruz
Anti-eviction Mapping Project (San Francisco, CA)
Rebecca will partner with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project as she shoots her thesis film for a Master’s degree in Social Documentation at UC Santa Cruz. Rebecca’s mixed media photography/video documentary project examines the changing landscape of San Francisco; specifically the ways in which the current political and economic climate is displacing long-term tenants through the process of gentrification. Rebecca will be working with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s storytelling campaign, contributing to its living archive, which documents detailed neighborhood and personal histories.
Chris Herring + Dilara Yarbrough
Ph.D. students, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego (respectively)
Coalition on Homelessness (San Francisco, CA)
Throughout California, state and local laws make it illegal for homeless people to rest, share food, or exist in public space. As a result, homeless people are ticketed and sometimes even arrested simply for being too poor to pay the fines associated with anti-homeless citations. In collaboration with the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, Chris and Dilara will co-direct a mixed-methods study of the extent and effects of the criminalization of homelessness in San Francisco. While past studies have found that law enforcement increasingly targets homeless status rather than behavior, this is the first in-depth study of how criminalization affects homeless people within a single city. Chris and Dilara will partner with human rights organizers to provide ongoing training in qualitative methods, video production, and community organizing for seven homeless peer researchers. In addition to surveying 350 homeless San Franciscans about their experiences with law enforcement, peer researchers will conduct in-depth video recorded interviews with 50 homeless participants. This research project supports the ongoing legislative campaign to decriminalize homelessness in California and nationwide. Research findings will be disseminated to lawmakers through a policy brief and in-depth report and to the media and public through short videos.
M.S.W. student, School of Social Welfare, UC Berkeley
Casa Alianza (Honduras)
Casa Alianza is an organization dedicated to children’s rights that has provided assistance to some of the most vulnerable children in Honduras for almost 30 years. Lyndsay’s work will focus on specific children’s rights concerns around unaccompanied child migrants being returned to Honduras from the U.S. and Mexico, and what it means for children to return to the violent, often life-threatening circumstances that they left in the first place. Lyndsay will be conducting interviews with children, families, and Casa Alianza staff to evaluate the organization’s Returned Child Migrants Program and identify strengths and gaps in reintegration services.
Ph.D. student, Biostatistics program, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos (El Salvador)
The Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos (Pro-Búsqueda, Pro-Search Association of Disappeared Children) was formed in 1994 by parents in El Salvador whose children had been abducted by military forces or surrendered under duress during the country’s civil war (1980-1992). To date, Pro-Búsqueda has opened more than 925 cases of such child disappearances and located 389 children and young adults, and each year parents come forward to open new cases. With this fellowship, Robin will work on a series of projects designed to aid investigative efforts at the organization, including modernizing existing record keeping systems and developing trainings on data management with Pro-Búsqueda staff and staff at other NGOs who work on war-related issues. Additionally, she will explore novel uses for the data in terms of understanding the war years and the level of abductions that took place.
J.D. student (1L), School of Law, UCLA
Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (Florence, AZ)
Natalie will work with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP), providing direct legal services to men and women detained in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Eloy, Arizona. Although the government assists indigent criminal defendants and civil litigants through public defenders and legal aid attorneys, it does not provide attorneys for people in immigration removal proceedings. This inequality creates enormous barriers for indigent clients seeking relief. To address this problem, FIRRP provides free legal assistance to detained refugees, asylees, and victims of Arizona’s particularly draconian immigration policing practices. As an intern, Natalie will assist with applications for relief, draft legal filings for use in Immigration Court and at the Board of Immigration Appeals, conduct legal research, and provide know-your-rights presentations in English and Spanish.
M.S. ’14, Global Health Sciences program, UC San Francisco
Physicians for Human Rights
Nikhil is working with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) to assess the global health impacts of less-lethal weapons use during social protests by security personnel and law enforcement. In collaboration with Human Rights Center Fellow Dr. Rohini Haar and Senior Research Fellow Dr. Vince Iacopino, Nikhil will assist with a systematic review of the literature to assess morbidity/mortality resulting from the deployment of crowd control weapons such as tear gas and rubber bullets during demonstrations. He will also conduct in-depth qualitative interviews of leading human rights activists from around the world to develop an understanding of the right to assembly and to contextualize the use of these weapons.
Ph.D. student, Department of Anthropology, UC San Diego
Urja (New Delhi, India)
Whitney is a Ph.D. student in cultural anthropology interested in human rights, violence, suffering, resistance, and resilience. She will work with Urja, a small NGO serving a caste community on the outskirts New Delhi. This is, traditionally, one of several castes surviving off of intergenerational sex work. Whitney’s research with Urja will focus on the few women in this community who have successfully resisted pressure to enter the sex industry. Urja will use their stories to better support local women and girls.
Gabriel J. Sanchez
Master’s student, Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley
Investigating Reporting Program, UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
Gabriel is working with the Berkeley-based Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) to examine the deaths of inmates in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the lapse in life saving medical care by corrections administrators. Gabriel’s research will compile testimony from families, parties involved in litigation and internal audits conducted by state agencies that measure the gaps in prison medical care.
Ph.D. student, College of Environmental Design Department of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
Four Regions Slum Network (Bangkok, Thailand)
Hayden will be working with the Four Regions Slum Network (FRSN), a grassroots-level organization that works to further housing rights on behalf of people living under conditions of insecure land tenure in cities throughout the country. The FRSN addresses issues of housing rights by building the collective capacity of slum dwellers in Thailand to advocate for fair housing practices and more just social policies. She will be assisting them by using her skills in Geographic Information Systems and design software to research the state of housing around the country and develop advocacy materials.
Master’s student, Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley
National American Indian Housing Council (Oregon and Washington)
Terray will partner with the National American Indian Housing Council, which is dedicated to improving housing conditions in Native American communities, where complex property laws and a lack of resources have caused rates of homelessness and overcrowding far above the national average. Terray will take photographs on several reservations, working closely with tribal members to document infrastructure short falls, their social consequences, and tribes’ efforts to address them. These photos will supplement NAIHC’s advocacy efforts, providing context and conscience to policy debates on housing in Indian Country.