United Nations Day!

It doesn’t feel nearly as long as it has been, but fourteen years ago, I was in the third grade celebrating United Nations Day with my elementary school. It was an exciting day for all of us as each class got to do a unit on a specific country and culture. We spent months learning about the land, some of the basic language, types of food, and traditional clothing. UN Day was our time to share with the rest of the school what we had studied, celebrating the beautiful cultures around the world. I remember being so excited to learn about New Zealand and the Māori people. The language, landscapes, traditional performances like the haka….EVERYTHING, was so new and so rich.

Fourteen years later, and I still have vivid memories of my third grade experience. However, my understanding and appreciation for today has grown and expanded in so many new ways.

You see, United Nations Day was not just a day of sharing what our classes learned about a country and culture over a period of a few months. October 24th was dedicated UN Day to celebrate “the formation of the international organization committed to maintaining international peace and security and promoting international cooperation.”

After the World Wars, global societies were left in shambles. Peoples were displaced, economies were shattered, and all areas of society were shaken in some way, shape, or form. The world needed peace and security, and nations around the world realized the extreme need for international collaboration. President Franklin D. Roosevelt suggested that the League of Nations needed to be replaced, and coined the term “United Nations” during WWII. On October 24, 1945, the UN Charter was officially adopted and ratified.

“The purposes of the UN, as enshrined in the Charter, are to maintain international peace and security, to prevent and remove threats to peace and to suppress acts of aggression; to bring about by peaceful means the adjustment or settlement of international disputes; to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; and to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character, and to promote and encourage respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.”

Today we celebrate both/and. We celebrate both the beautiful diversity of cultures around the world and the formation of an international organization that continues to work for global peace, security, and collaboration.

In Peace,

Jackie, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

Intl. Day for the Eradication of Poverty

In 1993, the United Nations dedicated October 17th International Day for the Eradication of Poverty “to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries.” 

In our earlier blog posts, we highlighted the countdown to the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals. Eradication of poverty is and will continue to be at the core of the MDGs even after 2015.

The 2014 theme for International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is “Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty.” 

Today, let us recognize and acknowledge that we as a global society need to continue the work– advocating for those who are are experiencing extreme poverty. There are many people and organizations that have already mobilized this movement to meet this core goal of the MDGs. So today as we celebrate these efforts, let us also be in solidarity with all those who are affected in one way or another by poverty and all its facets.

Visit the UN website to see what is being done and how you can be a part of this movement!


In Peace,
Jackie, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

Celebrating World Food Day & Our Stand Against Hunger!


This is the only number that will be tolerated.

This is the number that millions of people around the world are striving for, especially today as we celebrate World Food Day.

“A commitment to eradicate hunger”— this is what world food day is all about. Celebrating the efforts, dedication, and commitment to eradicating world hunger.

Here’s a little history….

World Food Day was established in 1979, celebrating the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1945. The observance is celebrated by millions across the globe as advocates work to end world hunger, spreading awareness and taking action to get to the number ZERO .

Whether we recognize it or not, world hunger affects EVERYONE. Including me. Including those of you reading this blog. Food IS a basic human right, and the sad reality is that millions around the world world are deprived of this. Millions of children, women, and men suffer from malnutrition and even death due to food disparity, which is directly linked to physical and economic access as well.

Why should we be concerned?

Millions are affected and whether we realize it or not, we could be too.

Our society is so disconnected from the truth– “that everyone and everything directly affects everyone and everything else, indirectly.”

We contribute to world hunger when we stay blind to the fact that it exists. We contribute to world hunger when we aren’t knowledgeable of where and how our food ended up on our plates. We contribute to world hunger when we fail to recognize the fact that as much as we are part of the problem, we ARE the solution. We are the key to reaching ZERO.

There are so many organizations and individual people that are working to achieve food justice for all. Explore the links below to see what they are doing and how you can take part in the global movement to mobilize ZERO.



In Peace,

Jackie, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

Ps: Today we ALSO celebrate National Boss Day.

HAPPY BOSS DAY to the two best bosses around! 

Joanne & Ginger and their treat wall!
Joanne & Ginger and their treat wall!
boss day
Happy Boss Day!

Get Out The Vote!

Yesterday, Joan Wittman, Consociate, Ginger Hedstrom, Justice Associate and Consociate, and myself went to Carondelet Village to register residents for early voter registration and absentee ballot applications.

Although early voter registration ends today (10/14/2014) all eligible individuals are able to register and vote on general election day, November 4, 2014.

Want to:

~determine your voting eligibility?

~find out more information on your candidates?

~see what your ballot will look like on election day?

~find your polling place?

~find out more general information?

Check out the MN Votes website below, a one-stop shop information hub on voting in Minnesota!

Have your voice heard! GET OUT YOUR VOTE! 


In Peace,

Jackie, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

Malala Yousafzai & Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced earlier today Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai as the recipients of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. The two were rewarded for their efforts and struggles in promoting children’s right to education and an end to youth suppression.

At age 17, Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person to receive the reward. Just two years ago, the teenager was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for girls’ right to education in Pakistan. Malala currently resides in Birmingham where she continues to study and promote girls’ education. She continues to be a voice for all girls around the world in their struggle for education equity.

BBC reports that Kailash Satyarthi “has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi.” He has led peaceful protests and founded the movement Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a movement that works for child rights and an end to human trafficking.

I started my morning reading the announcement of Malala and Kailash receiving the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize award. It was a great start to the day but also a gentle reminder….There is still much work to be done. There are still countries where the lives of students and innocent youth are constantly threatened and even taken because education inspires action against oppression. As we celebrate the hard work and dedication of Malala and Kailash, let us not forget that WE too need to continue the work, take a stand, and advocate for education equity and the protection of all youth, in our hometowns, states, nation, and global society.

Watch the official announcement below.

In Peace,

Jackie, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant

U of M Law School launches the Center for New Americans

On Tuesday, the University of Minnesota Law School celebrated the launch of the Center for New Americans. The center is the first of its kind and was made possible by the Robina Foundation. It has partnerships with many of Minnesota’s law firms and nonprofit organizations.

The launch kicked off with a panel of five nationally recognized advocates for immigrants and refugees who discussed the collaborative efforts of lawyers, law students, and other members of the new center in effort to ensure equal treatment for non-citizens seeking asylum. Panelists included:

Mee Moua (’97), former Minnesota state senator and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Michele Garnett-McKenzie (’96), director of advocacy at The Advocates for Human Rights, adjunct professor of law at University of Minnesota Law School

John Keller, executive director at the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota

Rebecca Scholtz, staff attorney at Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid

Benjamin Casper (’97), director of the Center for New Americans

During the panel, participants had the opportunity to hear from each member about their efforts involving equal treatment for non-citizens in their own workplaces and more of their independent motivations for the issue. The celebration ended with a reception and a few words of thanks from Mee Moua, Benjamin Casper, and one the center’s current clients.

For more information on the Center for New Americans check out the link below:


In Peace,

Jackie, SJW Justice Office Program Assistant