Human Rights Day
The annual Terre Haute Human Rights Day is a day-long event. Each year a keynote speaker is featured along with several other speakers, interactive workshops, and a variety of other activities. While centered on the Indiana State University campus, the programming represents the work of many individuals from both ISU and the Terre Haute community, and will involve both public school and university students.
Human Rights Day 2017
Human Rights 2017 will be held on March 7.
2017 Keynote Speaker
Merilyn D. Brown
Merilyn D. Brown holds a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Law Enforcement Administration; an Associates Degree in Business Administration; a Bachelor's of Theology and a Jurist Doctor from The John Marshall Law School. She is a licensed ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is founder and pastor of Christ Centered Ministries Church, Kankakee, IL. Merilyn presently is working as an Attorney Advisor in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Midwest Regional Office in Chicago Illinois. She is the former Director of the Fair Housing Enforcement Division, Office of Investigations in Washington, DC. She has served as both a Commissioner and the Chief Commissioner on the Police and Fire Board of University Park, IL. Merilyn is an Adjunct Professor of The John Marshall Law School and on the Board of the JMLS National Fair Housing Educational Center. As Attorney Advisor in the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity she, on three separate occasions, has been nominated as "Outstanding Federal Employee" and was selected to receive the Jonathan Comer Service Award in 2014 by the Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Agencies for her expertise in fair housing and providing training and support to the stat's agencies in the field of civil and human rights. She has received the John Marshall Law School Alumni Distinguished Service Award recognizing her outstanding achievements in the practice of law and the significant contributions she has made to her community and to the law school. Attorney Brown has published several articles and is a desired national speaker, trainer, facilitator, and teacher
The Dakota-Lakota Indigenous people, known as the Sioux, have created an environment movement of eco-activists around the world resisting the construction of the final section of Energy Transfer Partners' oil pipeline adjacent to their reservation,in North Dakota. The Sioux and their supporters are doing battle as “water protectors” of the Missouri River as it forms the Banks of the lake Oahe. The Native Americans are defending their sources of water, lands, and sacred burial grounds against future contamination due to spills. During the protests many human rights violations have been committed against them by police and anti riots squads, more than 600 unarmed people have been arrested.
Jordan is a 24-year-old from Central Coast, California who began his humanitarian efforts in South Sudan the week after graduating high school in 2010. In South Sudan, Jordan facilitated the building of a medical clinic alongside Sudanese Lost Boy, Deng Jongkuch. In 2011, Jordan enrolled at California State University Long Beach where his Arabic professor introduced him to the atrocities occurring in Syria. The testimonies by his professor drew him to care and as a result, Jordan founded Help4Refugees.org and traveled to the country of Jordan to find out how he could help. From 2012-2014, Jordan continued studying while delivering prefabricated housing units and reporting as a freelance journalist in the Syrian refugee camp of Zaatari. Since then, Jordan has earned his Master's in International Relations & Politics from the University of Cambridge and most recently worked on First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative in the White House. To learn more about Jordan’s humanitarian work please go to Help4Reugees.org. Also, here is a slideshow narrated by Carl Wilkens about Jordan’s work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DPSg97MwQE.
Stuart Mora is the President of the Indiana Chapter of Unite Here Local 23. He got involved with the Union when he was 23 years old and was working in food service at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis. He is humbled to be a father and husband as well as a proud organizer of working people who believe that the best way to climb out of poverty is to stand up and fight for what we deserve.
Dr. Georgianna Duarte
Dr. Duarte is an early childhood professor and chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Bayh College of Education. She has lived in the US/MX border for over 28 years as a child advocate and worked and advocated on behalf of children. As an advocate in the border, she volunteered as a child advocate for the Young Center of Immigrant Children's Rights. She has a PhD in Early Childhood Education and has taught on the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. As a researcher, her work has focused on children’s play, language, and education diplomacy. Her work in Migrant and Bilingual early childhood education is evident in over 20 years as a consultant, trainer, and program reviewer. Georgianna has worked directly with elementary and preschool children in urban and rural settings as she continues to mentor teachers in educational programs. Georgianna has served in leadership capacities in OMEP, and Committee Chairs in ACEI. Internationally, she has initiated and led rights initiatives in Mexico, Peru, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
Myranda Warden, MSW, LSW
Director of Programs and Training
Indiana Youth Group (IYG)
Myranda Warden is the director of programs and training for Indiana Youth Group (IYG), a service and community support center that serves LGBTQ+ youth ages 12-20 in Central Indiana. Myranda oversees all operations of the drop-in center, IYG’s support and educational programs for youth, suicide prevention programs and initiatives, the parent and family support program, as well as the queer and transgender cultural competency training provided for the community. Myranda’s professional background includes work in youth program development and evaluation, case management, mental health assessment, and inpatient psychiatric social work. Proud to be a born-and-raised Hoosier, Myranda grew up in Indianapolis and received both their undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree in Social Work from IUPUI, where she now teaches social work with a focus on groups and group identity. Myranda enjoys spending her rare free time exploring the vastness of the world through the lens of her child, Liliana, reading and writing poetry, and dancing in the mirror.
Ernest Coverson has committed over a decade of his life to fighting for justice. He currently serves as the Senior Field Organizer for Amnesty International USA.
As Senior Field Organizer, he responsible for working with members, volunteers and partners in 7 of the 13 state region advancing the strategic plan and work of the organization. His work expands to working with elected officials both local as well as federal also training members on campaigns and pertinent skills to advance the work of Amnesty International. A major part of Mr. Coverson’s duties is recruiting new members and creating new Amnesty groups within his territory.
Mr. Coverson previously served as Field Organizer with Amnesty International. Earlier in his career he served as Regional Youth Director and Regional Director for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Ernest was elected to precinct delegate in the City of Detroit and has also worked as an organizer with the National Democratic Party.
Liz Deligo and Kathleen Desautels, SP
Liz Deligio and Kathleen Desautels, SP are both long time staff members at the 8th Day Center for Justice. They both work on issues of human rights and women's rights in both Church and society. Liz has a Master of Divinity and a Masters of Community Psychology. Kathleen is a Sister of Providence from St. Mary-of-the-Woods with a Masters of Religious Studies, and post graduate work in Liberation Theology.
Dr. Ralph Leck
Dr. Ralph Leck is a specialist in gender studies and the history of ideas who regularly teaches social justice courses at Indiana State University. He is the former director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Marian University (Indianapolis) and currently sits on the steering committee of ISU’s Human Rights Day and the Board of the Eugene V. Debs Foundation. Dr. Leck is a local leader in the Forward Together Movement, and last year he participated in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. His second book, Vita Sexualis: Karl Ulrichs and the Origins of Sexual Science (University of Illinois Press, 2016), was recently published and is available on Amazon.com.
Gambill, a native of Terre Haute attended Indiana University and graduated from the I.U. Bloomington School of Law in 1983. He originally began his legal career in Terre Haute with Wright, Shagley, Lowery and Crawford. He became a partner in his current law firm Wagner, Crawford, Gambill & Jungers in 1987. He served as a Public Defender in Vigo County for nearly a decade and now is primarily engaged as a Trial Attorney handling personal injury and medical malpractice. Gambill also serves as a Municipal Attorney and had represented the Town of Clay City since 1984. He also works as a Forfeiture Attorney for a number of Western Indiana County Prosecutors. He presently serves as a Board Member for the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association.
For more information contact Center for Community Engagement: (812) 237-2334
Sister Rosemary Schmalz
Sister Rosemary Schmalz has been a member of Forward Together Terre Haute for about two years. With other members of this group, she researched the facts and fictions around this topic and tracked its lack of progress in the state legislature.
A native of Terre Haute, IN, Kristin Fleschner has worked on Gender, Peace, and Security issues for the federal government since 2008. Fleschner recently joined the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor as a Foreign Affairs Officer covering human rights issues. She is a 2014 graduate of Harvard Law School and a 2004 graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she graduated summa cum laude with degrees in anthropology and human and organization development. She was the 2004 Vanderbilt University Michael B. Keegan Traveling Fellow, which enabled her to travel to Southern and Eastern Africa to study sexual violence against women and children. Those experiences deepened her interest in international relations and gender issues. Before joining the federal government in 2008, she worked for the Polaris Project, Younger Women's Task Force, Population Services International, and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Fleschner started experiencing vision loss in 2008 after an organ transplant and is a strong advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. She has served on U.S. Government interagency working groups on disability issues since 2010 and in 2014 she was awarded one of Harvard Law School's Leadership Awards for her work on disability issues. She was the 2013 National Federation of the Blind's National Scholarship winner, which recognized her scholarship and advocacy work. In 2013 she directed a documentary, "Blind Ambition," about her experiences and those of other Harvard Law students who are blind or visually impaired. Kristin completed the 2014 Boston Marathon with a professional running guide. Pictured is Fleschner with her Seeing Eye Dog, Zoe.