breakthrough beat: Rock for Rights in India with Engendered

Engendered, the NYC based transnational arts and human rights organization proudly announces their inaugural event in India, ROCK FOR RIGHTS (RFR), 2011, in screen-shot-2011-11-10-at-55822-pmcollaboration with Delhi based organization Queer Delhi.  Breakthrough is a proud promotional partner of the event.

In solidarity with all gender, sexual and minority rights movements in South Asia, RFR is a historic live music concert and party on Nov 27, 2011 at the Lalit Hotel in New Delhi. The concert brings together some of South Asia’s most explosive musical talents crossing genres and nations – from Sufi to electronic, folk to rock, India to Pakistan, artists and bands who will come together with the power of music to create a platform to speak of human rights, choice, dignity and social justice.

Check out the line-up:

• Rekha Bhardwaj
• Zeb & Haniya
• Papon & The East India Co: Indie Rock act, Papon (Angaraag Mahanta)
• Ma Faiza
• Alisha Batth

Check out the Facebook page for more info.  We hope to see you there!

November 10, 2011 by crissy spivey
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because we found it: Test out new video for change toolkit and get a free FLIP

Great resource from our friends at WITNESS! WITNESS toolkit

If you’re interested in using video to make a difference, while saving time, money and resources  — because who doesn’t — check out WITNESS’ new Video Advocacy Planning Toolkit. It’s free!

What you get:
Step by step training videos (cool interface with a dapper fella), and how-to’s to help you develop your own plan for making videos.

How to get started:
Step 1: Visit http://VideoPlan.WITNESS.org
Step 2: Create an account and start your own Video Advocacy Plan
Step 3: Let them know what you think of the Toolkit

Bonus! Get a free FLIP if you’re one of the first to use the Toolkit and give constructive feedback.  Find out more HERE.

November 10, 2011 by crissy spivey
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breakthrough beat: We’re hitting the stage – “Yo Miss! Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide!”

What are your plans for the weekend?Yo Mis 4x6" FRONT w_bleed4.indd

Join Breakthrough from November 3-6th, for the play Yo Miss! Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide! at the popular Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Actor and writer Judith Sloan uses theater and music to remix stories from her extensive experience with immigrant/refugee teenagers and incarcerated youth. She interweaves their stories with her own, revealing the effects of the Holocaust on her family.

Following the Sunday, November 6th performance, join us for a discussion with Breakthrough’s president, Mallika Dutt, along with Queens City Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and Advocacy Director Jackie Vimo.

“‘Yo Miss!’ re-enacts and riffs on [Sloan's] experiences teaching teenagers from myriad worlds: refugee camps, struggling neighborhoods, prisons. It is a performance about performances, a story containing many stories.”

- The New York Times

Here’s the full info:

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, November 3, 4, 5 at 7 PM
Sunday, November 6 at 3 PM

Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Buy Tix: $20 general $15 students/seniors/groups 212-780-9386 (scroll to time and day of your choosing)

We hope to see you there!

November 1, 2011 by crissy spivey
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b-the change: Mallika Dutt on women and new media at Media that Matters

Photo courtesy of My Accidental Muse

Photo courtesy of My Accidental Muse

Women and girls matter!  As part of the series of discussions “Women and Girls Matter: A series of discussions” for Media that Matters, please join our president, Mallika Dutt on panel: “Throwing Open the House: What’s Next for Women and Girls in Film and New Media?” They will evaluate the shifting landscape and explore solutions to breaking down more barriers for women and girls in filmmaking.

Here’s more info for Saturday, October 29th from 2-3:30!

Even as women have continued to make significant headway in other industries, the film business has remained a heavily male-dominated shop. Despite this reality, women filmmakers have not only persevered, but in recent years have been the driving force behind some of the industry’s most powerful feature and documentary films.
In what ways can female leadership impact gender norms in the film industry?  How are the values that women bring to the table informing not only what media we create but how we create it?  What can gatekeepers do to open doors and bring more women into the circle? What are the steps to engaging the interest and cultivating the talents of the next generation of girls?

Here’s full panel:
Beth Davenport, Women’s Institute Online Program Manager, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies; Director: Pushing The Elephant
Mallika Dutt, President & CEO, Breakthrough
Aina Abiodun, Film Futurist; Founder, Aina Media, Inc.
Moderator: Teresa Basilio, Director of Media In Action, Global Action Project

Hope to see you there!

October 26, 2011 by crissy spivey
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b-the change: Please stand up for human rights in Alabama

Why are some Alabama parents pulling their children out of school? Why are some Alabama workers afraid to show up to their jobs? Why are some Alabama families fleeing the state altogether?

Please share this image far and wide: via Twitter, your Facebook profile and more!

Please share this image far and wide: via Twitter, your Facebook profile and more!

Because last week Alabama began to enforce one of the harshest immigration laws in U.S. history. HB 56 requires local and state law enforcement to check the status of any person of whom they have “reasonable suspicion” of being undocumented, ostensibly encouraging racial profiling. The law also requires schools to check the immigration status of all new students.

HB 56 has triggered widespread fear among Alabama’s immigrant communities and set off nothing short of a humanitarian crisis. We need to stand in solidarity with the people of Alabama because when we deny human rights to some we put everyone’s rights at risk.

We will continue to update you as the news happens. We also need your voice in this conversation. Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook and share your news, views and stories about HB 56 with us.


October 7, 2011 by crissy spivey
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because we found it: National award honors three Arizona winners for immigrant rights

This came across our desk – check out this event tomorrow!screen-shot-2011-09-27-at-50328-pm

On Wednesday, September 28th, the Freedom From Fear Award will hold a reception from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix to celebrate Arizona’s three winners of the award, which honors “15 ordinary people who have committed extraordinary acts of courage on
behalf of immigrants and refugees—individuals who have taken a risk, set an example, and inspired others to action or awareness.”  Arizona has more winners than any other state and was also represented on the Selection Committee by State Senator Kyrsten Sinema. Arizona’s winners
are:

Erika Andiola, Leader of the Arizona DREAM Coalition (Mesa)
Jack Harris, Former Police Chief of Phoenix
Gene Lefebrve and Sarah Roberts of No More Deaths (Tucson)

The awards, produced by Public Interest Projects, were originally
announced on June 18th at the Netroots Nation conference in
Minneapolis.  This is the first regional event to recognize winners.
More information about the award and all the winners is available at
www.FreedomFromFearAward.com.

September 27, 2011 by crissy spivey
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breakthrough beat: Solidarity in Harlem for Troy Davis

photo courtesy of Jonathan Auch

photo courtesy of Jonathan Auch

Written by Eesha Pandit, Breakthrough’s Women’s Rights Manager

At 11:08pm, on September 21, 2011 Troy Davis was executed.

I spent the evening alternating between my apartment a few blocks away and St. Mary’s Church in Harlem, where many supporters of Troy gathered in solidarity with Troy (see photos), his family and in opposition to the death penalty. We lit candles. Some of us prayed with bowed heads. We listened to the live reporting from Democracy Now outside the GA prison where Troy was being held. We cheered when we mistakenly thought Troy was granted a stay of execution. We cried when we discovered we were wrong. We chanted. We shouted. And we lent our voices to the thousands of others around the world who believe the death penalty is wrong.

Many things have already been said about the barbarity of this practice. And much has been said about the significant doubt in the Davis case. Despite all this, the execution was carried out last night.

The US holds rank with a minority of nations that have not yet abolished the death penalty. More than 65% of all countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. The US remains one of the top countries responsible for executing people.  According to statistics gathered by the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been 1,267 executions in America since 1976. Since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. How many have been wrongly killed? How many more will be?

In a legal system that operates in a nation rife with racial injustice, such irrevocable acts seem foolish, unjust, criminal, barbaric… I could go on, but last night, as I sat in the pews of St. Mary’s with friends, old and new, I could not think of an effective word to describe what I was feeling. There was not a word big enough, deep enough, complex enough, to capture it all. Hope and hopelessness. Fear and anger. Shame and rage. Empathy and solidarity. Perhaps such a word simply doesn’t exist.

There are currently 3,251 inmates on death row in the US. And Troy Davis’ own words remind us that this is not over. There are many things you can do.

I’ll leave you with Troy’s words. They are galvanizing:

As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can’t even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail…

I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing, “I AM TROY DAVIS, and I AM FREE!”

September 23, 2011 by Eesha Pandit
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breakthrough beat: Watch our new video, “Checkpoint Nation? Building Community Across Borders”

Originally posted on our Restore Fairness site checkpoint-nation1

Early one morning, Maria—then nine months pregnant—and her family were stopped by the police for no discernible reason. A special breakfast outing became a nightmare—and at one of the most intimate moments of her life, Maria found a team of immigration agents—not her husband—by her side.

Maria’s chilling story, which Breakthrough captured on a trip to the Mexico/Arizona border, is the centerpiece of “Checkpoint Nation? Building Community Across Borders,” a powerful new documentary that depicts the reality of post-9/11 racial profiling — as mandated by laws such as SB 1070 in Arizona, which are now being imitated and implemented nationwide — along with the new and strengthening alliances of diverse groups committed to racial justice.

Set in the U.S./Mexico border area near Tucson, Arizona, a region that sees more and more migrant deaths every year, the video explores the idea that the way to move forward is to find connections and build coalitions among between diverse groups of allies — including Muslim-, South Asian-, African-, and Latino-Americans; civil rights lawyers and media activists — that have identified with each other’s histories and united in the common goals of justice, equality, and respect for all.

“Checkpoint Nation?” was produced to complement the release of  a new report and Week of Action around the 10th anniversary of September 11th spearheaded by Rights Working Group, a  national coalition of more than 300 civil liberties, national security, immigrant rights and human rights organizations committed to restoring due process and human rights protections that have been eroded in the name of national security. The report, “Reclaiming Our Rights: Reflections on Racial Profiling in a Post-9/11 America,” will be released September 14th.

The groups that are featured in the video are ACLU – ArizonaAlliance for Educational JusticeBlack Alliance for Just ImmigrationDerechos HumanosDRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving)Funding ExchangeVAMOS Unidos

Denying fairness and justice to some puts all of our freedoms at risk. Ten years after September 11th, we must challenge ourselves to unite across our differences and reaffirm the real American values of pluralism, democracy, and dignity for all.

Watch the video and take action to stop racial profiling in your community.

September 8, 2011 by crissy spivey
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b-the change: TODAY join Rights Working Group and Melissa Harris-Perry on Twitter to discuss profiling and rights after 9/11

Melissa Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry

Originally posted on Rights Working Group

Rights Working Group and renown progressive scholar Melissa Harris-Perry will hold a Twitter Chat, TODAY from 3-4 pm ET, about racial profiling and ways to reclaim and expand rights lost after 9/11.

Why? Ten years ago, in June 2001, the End Racial Profiling Act was first introduced in Congress with strong bi-partisan support.  After 9/11, significant support for ending racial profiling took a backseat to unethical national security policies that expanded racial profiling to other groups.  The federal government began targeting people of Arab, Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim backgrounds for extra scrutiny, launching the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System that required more than 80,000 men to register and undergo interrogations, detentions and deportations.  In addition, we experienced restrictions on privacy rights, due process and the expansion of the government’s powers of surveillance and detention.

Under the newly formed Department of Homeland Security, immigration law and policies were conflated with national security laws and practices, resulting in an increase in resources devoted to detentions and deportations of immigrants, worksite raids, home raids and collaborations with local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law.

While profiling broadened and became more frequent among some communities of color, the racial profiling impacting African Americans and Latinos that expanded during the War on Drugs in the 1970s and 80s continued.

We will talk about how, together, we can combat these forms of oppression to restore and expand democracy in our nation. We will share resources, ideas and reach a broader audience. Join us TODAY from 3-4 pm! Tell a friend! To promote and join the twitter chat Use hashtag: #reclaimrights #p2

To RSVP, tweet this: @RightsWorking I’ll be at the #reclaimrights #tweetchat on 9/7!

Promote the Chat using your own or a sample tweet:

Let’s fight for rights lost after 9/11 Join @rightsworking for Reclaim Our Rights Twitter Chat, Sept. 7, 3-4 p.m., ET. Use #reclaimrights #p2

Spread the word! End Post 9/11 racial profiling! Join @rightsworking Twitter Chat, Sept. 7, 3-4 p.m., ET. Use #reclaimrights #p2

Chat with Melissa Harris-Perry and @rightsworking about rights lost post-9/11. Sept. 7, 3-4 pm, ET,. #reclaimrights, #p2, #mharrisperry

Join in on the *National Week of Action* :Reflecting on Our Loss and Reclaiming Our Rights – September 11-17, 2011

September 7, 2011 by crissy spivey
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End of summer playlist: I AM THIS LAND diversity contest honorable mentions

Breakthrough is ringing out the end of the summer with our oldies but goodies. If you’re not on the beach, barbecuing, or on a blanket at the park, we hope you’re spending it with us!

Breakthrough held a video contest last December, I AM THIS LAND, calling for people to make a video on diversity using the phrase: “I AM THIS LAND.”  While there was one winner, Role Call, and four runners up, there were still a few others that pulled at our warm and fuzzy strings.

1. Diver City Rocks by Todd J. and Jeremy L.

What will the citizens of Diver City do when a wave threatens their home —- and they realize they’ve banished all those who may have the talents to save them!?

2. Many Languages, One America

Diversity is our commonality: without it this world would be culture-less, language-less and over all taste-less. Let us celebrate our differences.

3. Hungry for Diversity by Todd L.

If everything and everyone were the same, life would be a pretty mundane and tasteless experience.

4.  A Hand for Change by Beth L.

A small change in perception has the potential to change the world.

5. We are unique, and that’s what makes us special by Emily B.

Interviews with students from all over the world who attend a boarding school in the U.S. To them they are all the same, and their differences is what makes them such great friends.

September 2, 2011 by crissy spivey
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