The Universal Declaration of Human Rights puts forth that all people are entitled to a life with dignity, justice, freedom, equality and peace. These unalienable rights serve as the basis for many international, national and local laws. Unfortunately in today’s world, there are many human rights violations both in the United States and across the globe. That’s where The Advocates for Human Rights comes in.
Since 1983, The Advocates for Human Rights has worked tirelessly to “promote and protect human rights worldwide.” Staff, volunteers, the Board of Directors and many more work to fight for victims of human rights violations; educate lawyers, the public and law enforcement on how to recognize and stop abuses of human rights; and support the efforts of foreign governments, lawyers and law enforcement in protecting the rights of their citizens. The Advocates is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that focuses on a wide range of issues, including women’s rights, human trafficking, refugees/immigrants and LGBTI rights.
B&C client Julie Firestone has been involved with The Advocates for over a decade, first volunteering as a pro-bono attorney and then joining The Advocates Board of Directors in 2014. Julie’s work with The Advocates enhances an already illustrious law career. As an attorney with Briggs and Morgan, P.A., in Minneapolis, Julie serves as a shareholder and a member of the firm’s Financial Markets Group, representing companies and individuals in legal matters involving the financial markets. Julie has argued cases before the Minnesota Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals, and was also named Attorney of the Year in 2014 by the Minnesota Lawyer.
As a pro-bono attorney volunteering with The Advocates, Julie represents persons who have been persecuted in their home countries and are seeking asylum in the United States. While this is hard work, it is also full of rewarding moments. Julie’s favorite part about being involved with The Advocates is working with clients who have faced discrimination, persecution and/or terror in their home countries. Being able to tell a client that they have been granted asylum in the United States and they no longer have to fear harm makes all the work worthwhile.
For those who want to take an active role in solving injustices in the world, The Advocates is the perfect way to get involved. By addressing human rights abuses on both an individual and systemic basis, The Advocates can help those immediately affected by human rights violations as well as help close any gaps in political systems that allow abuses to occur in the first place. However, working to change laws in both the United States and abroad isn’t always enough. The Advocates also works to implement and enforce these laws.
Luckily, there are multiple ways for others to help The Advocates for Human Rights advance their mission. There is always a need for funding – visit http://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/donate to contribute. The Advocates can also use volunteers from all walks of life – whether you’re a lawyer, doctor, write, interpreter, artist or just someone who wants to get involved, The Advocates can use your skills and gifts. If you are interested in getting involved with an organization with a documented and successful history of making changes to the law in the US and across the world, The Advocates is always looking for new volunteers.
Are you interested in learning more about The Advocates for Human Rights? Visit http://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/ or call (612) 341-3302.
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