April 1997 Volume 2 Issue 4

CHRE Receives Grant for
Women's Human Rights Education Project

Women's Health 2001: A Human Rights Odyssey (The Odyssey Project) was a notion conceived as CHRE Executive Director Loretta Ross and Program Director Dazon Dixon attended a meeting of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) at the United Nations last year in January. The Odyssey Project is an international collaboration to use women's human rights as a framework to educate women for greater reproductive rights activism, particularly focusing on women of color in the Southeastern United States and women in Southern developing countries.

The Odyssey Project is organized as a continuation of work that was begun in preparation for the 4th World Conference on Women (4WCW) held in Beijing, China, September 1995. SisterLove Women's AIDS Project and CHRE sponsored a delegation to the Conference that included women from Guyana, India, Nigeria and the United States. As result of the tremendous success of the workshops, networking and collaborations at the conference, SisterLove and CHRE have combined health and reproductive rights education and training with popular human rights education programs to implement a model international program throughout the next five years.

CHRE is an important new resource and training center for social justice activists. SisterLove Women's AIDS Project is a non-profit organization that provides education and support for women who are at risk or living with HIV/AIDS. The work of both organizations brings health educators, HIV/AIDS activists and survivors, and reproductive rights activists together with human rights education.

Less than one year since the original seed of the Odyssey Project was planted, CHRE and Sisterlove Women's AIDS Project have joined in collaboration, with funding support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, to embark upon a journey to promote women's human rights in the United States. This grant award from the MacArthur Foundation gives CHRE and SisterLove the unique opportunity to mobilize the first grassroots women's health and human rights education movement organized by African-American women, in collaboration with other Black women and women of color in Southern countries.

The initial $50,000 grant award to CHRE and SisterLove will support a series of human rights education training institutes. The Odyssey Project will organize women's communities to integrate HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases into reproductive health and sexuality issues. As a next step, we must then integrate women's health issues into the movement for women's human rights, and incorporate a holistic analysis which stresses the interdependence of gender, race, and class in reproductive rights activism.

The immediate goal of the portion of the project that is funded by MacArthur in 1997, is to fully develop the plan that will fund the domestic and international implementation of The Odyssey Project beginning in January 1998. The seed funds will be used to:

  1. Convene a Women's Health and Human Rights Institute and Planning Meeting in conjunction with the International Women and Health Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in March 1997;
  2. Assist participating delegates from various Southern and developing countries including India, Mexico, Brazil and Nigeria to attend the Institute, conference and planning meeting; and
  3. Support the cost of operations of the planning of this project including regional education and training programs throughout the Southeastern United States.

In order to bring together women who are not commonly found in reproductive rights or human rights movements, the Odyssey Project will make special effort to reach out to activists in relevant movements including welfare rights, anti-racism, anti-poverty and violence against women. African-American women's leadership in all these areas is key to reaching others.

SPECIAL NOTICES/ANNOUNCEMENTS – CHRE's next Human Rights Education Training will be held on May 10, 1997 at Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Mississippi. Call CHRE for more information or registration.

"Bringing Human Rights Home to People in the United States"

The Mission of the Center for Human Rights Education is to "bring human rights home" to the American People.

National Center for Human Rights Education, P.O. Box 311020, Atlanta, GA 31131
(tel) 404/344-9629 (fax) 404/346-7517 (email) ROSSCHRE@aol.com

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