2017 Grant Winners

2017 Grant Winners

The following Humanity in Action Senior Fellows received funding of up to 5,000 EUR through the 2017 Senior Fellow Grants Competition "The Urgency of Now."

 

My One Hundred Day Plans

Michael Kunichika (U.S. Senior Fellow and Board Member | Humanity in Action Fellowship Netherlands 1999) + Heather Lord (U.S. Senior Fellow and Board Member | Humanity in Action Fellowship Denmark 1997)

MY100DayPlans was a civic action campaign encouraging participants to take one action every day for one hundred days to directly counteract Donald Trump’s first hundred days in office. The campaign provided participants with a quick, doable, daily civic action that takes a stand for democracy. It functioned as a “campaign of campaigns,” promoting and connecting the best and most effective actions and organizations doing great work all over the United States and in many communities. Three principles guided the campaign—RESIST, REBUILD, RECHARGE—as it sought to inspire new levels of civic engagement in those committed to a strong, thriving, and inclusive democracy both locally and abroad. Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

 

The Inclusive Organizing Initiative

Sarah Freeman-Woolpert (U.S. Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Denmark 2015) + Team

This project addresses the climate of American political polarization and seeks to identify and address economic grievances of conservative, working class communities in the United States through community organizing and social activism. The Inclusive Organizing Initiative is a three-day workshop designed to train high school students from economically disadvantaged, conservative communities to gain skills in community organizing, nonviolent communication, and lobbying political representatives to address economic injustice and inequality affecting their towns. Beginning with a Friday evening discussion to identify specific problems facing the local community, the next day entails trainings in developing community mobilization around these issues, ending on the third day with a workshop on democratic inclusiveness and decision-making processes. The initiative is motivated by the belief that socioeconomic inequality, unemployment, and poverty experienced by many Americans can lead to fear and scapegoating, which contributes to a sense of powerlessness that could be addressed, in part, by wider dissemination of tactics and strategies for nonviolent social change.

 

The NET Mentoring Group, Inc.

Jamal Grant (U.S. Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Atlanta 2015)

The NET Mentoring Group (originally founded as a Humanity in Action Action Project) is a Boston-based non-profit whose purpose is to eradicate the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) achievement and opportunity gap. The STEM gap is the phenomenon that, compared to their white counterparts, Black and Latinx students tend to underperform academically. This complex and multifaceted issue results from a combination of factors that are both systemic and social. The NET intends to address these simultaneously through STEM programming, tutoring and also mentoring that focuses on building social awareness, critical thinking and leadership skills. While The NET is certainly a STEM program on the surface, it is also a program aimed at heightening the social awareness of inner-city youth to help them become more engaged in their communities in areas such as economics, politics, education, and safety. Our hope is that in socially and academically educating our youth, we will help craft young, successful leaders in STEM that also understand the importance of their own role in uplifting their communities.

 

#FreedomCities (Home of the Brave)

Emily Hong (U.S. Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Denmark 2008)

This storytelling & media project highlights how a diverse group of immigrant and low-wage workers of color are standing up within a divided political climate to re-imagine safety and belonging in service of freedom. In the face of an election that has exploited divisions in the name of "security" defined as deportations, increased policing, and repression of dissent, this project throws the spotlight on a powerful counter-narrative: the struggle to create "Freedom Cities." The idea of a Freedom City goes beyond a sanctuary city by seeking protection for and defined by all: workers, immigrants—documented or undocumented, people with criminal convictions, gender nonconforming folks, the poor, and all people of color. The Freedom Cities campaign has been launched by project partner the New York Worker Center Federation (NYWCF), a coalition of ten worker organizations that represents a multiracial movement building the power and leadership of workers and bringing their voices to the front line. This project will include storytelling and social media workshops with NYWCF members to create and disseminate new narratives that bridge dialogues across movements and communities in New York City and beyond. Keep up with this project through Facebook and Twitter.

 

Inicjatywa Gośc-inność (Hospitality Initiative)

Nina Lazarczyk (Polish Senior Fellow | Diplomacy & Diversity Fellowship 2016)

Ever since the influx of asylum-seeking newcomers to Europe provoked a wave of hostile attitudes toward newcomers, the Polish word for ‘refugee’ has gained a negative connotation among many teenagers who have started to use it as an offense. Though many of them have never met a person of a different ethnicity or religion, the words ‘refugees,’ ‘Muslims,’ or ‘Jews,’ often cause an image of a supposedly 'dangerous Other’ to come to mind. This project is dedicated to Polish students aged between 12-14 years old coming from disadvantaged parts of Warsaw and small cities in Mazovia. The project will consist of 8 cooking workshops led by migrants who will teach students how to prepare some of their traditional dishes. Students will have the opportunity to interact with ‘Others,’ learn through food what diversity can bring to the table. The workshops will provide an opportunity to learn not only about different cuisines, but also about the related country, habits, and religion as well as the meanings of and stories behind terms such as refugee, asylum-seeker, migrant, Muslim, Arab, or Jew.The project will be completed in partnership with Kuchnia Konfliktu (Conflict Kitchen).

 

Recognizing What We See and Don't See: Bridging Communities through Nonviolent Communication and Storytelling

Amy Hong (U.S. Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Denmark 2008)

There is despair following the U.S. election as well as trepidation around France's 2017 election, and the dangerous polarization of American and French societies is undeniable. In this context – where the unthinkable has become possible – we must find manifold approaches to defending democratic values. However, discussions on the issues warranting urgent attention including Islamophobia, immigration, white privilege, and inter-ethnic tensions often trigger violent emotions and defenses, blocking the possibility for dialogue. This project, by enabling individuals to initiate conversations in safe spaces and to relate emphatically to those they disagree with, plans to activate this dialogue and will include trainings on intercultural/nonviolent communication in France and the U.S. These are aimed at transforming how participants relate to "the Other" and provoking them to consider their respective privileges, vulnerabilities, and implicit biases. These trainings will lead to the project’s second phase: a digital initiative including photographs and videos highlighting the lived experiences of members of marginalized groups.

 

#DitKV

Alexander Andersson (Danish Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Denmark 2013)

How do we ensure a strong democracy in a world where facts have become subjective and echo chambers have displaced public democratic conversations? At Think Rights, we believe that one of the keys to a healthy democracy is engaging first time voters and encouraging their democratic participation. That is why Think Rights is launching the campaign #ditkv (#yourlocalelection) focusing on the 2017 municipal election in Denmark. With #ditkv we aim to strengthen dialogue across communities by creating an online platform that cuts across the echo chambers of social media platforms. Working with community ambassadors to create engaging political events, our aim is to further this online activity by reaching out to marginalized communities and encouraging democratic participation across political, socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. The goal of this project is to strengthen the belief that democratic participation matters and to instill democratic confidence in first time voters across communities.

 

People and Pipelines

Anna Nelson-Daniel (U.S. Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Denmark 2013) + DeLesslin George-Warren (U.S. Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Denmark 2014)

In early 2016, the construction of Energy Transfer Partner's Dakota Access Pipeline was approved, allowing for the transportation of crude oil to cross the Missouri River less than a mile away from the Standing Rock Reservation. The world responded in protest through the grassroots movement recognized as #NoDAPL. As legal battles continue in the Dakotas, construction of oil pipelines threaten access to clean drinking water in at-risk communities across the country. This project aims at raising awareness and building upon public consciousness of indigenous rights alongside environmental activism.

 

ICC - Integrated Collaboration for Change

Tamas Csontos (Hungarian Senior Fellow | Lantos-HIA Congressional Fellowship 2013) + Team

Electoral apathy and the strengthening of populism in Hungary has grown into a pressing issue that demands attention. The Integrated Collaboration for Change (ICC) addresses this issue by creating an open-source online platform that empowers citizens to effectively influence political decision processes and allows them to raise important issues to the general attention, propose their own idea and policies, gather supporters and initiate action while simultaneously searching for solutions that result in the largest social benefit not based on traditional left or right-winged political values. ICC also serves as a call for political consciousness and focuses on social programing and opinion building while strengthening political activism and participatory democracy. In order to filter out bots, trolls and fake identities, the program will use an online anonym ID verification system that was developed by the same team leading the ICC.

 

Inside the Triangle: the Struggle of Representation in North Carolina

Andrew Post (U.S. Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Poland 2016) + Team

Inside the Triangle uses journalistic theater to engage ideologically disparate communities in North Carolina, including disenfranchised and nationalist populations. North Carolina's politics have been exceptionally tumultuous, with the Charleston Church shooting in 2015, documented voter oppression and gerrymandering, and an attempt by the State Legislature to limit power of the newly elected Governor in 2016. In the vain of Anna Deavere Smith’s Fires in the Mirror, our project uses interviews with North Carolinians who are directly involved in these issues to write a script and music for a provocative performance that allows the audience to consider the humanity beyond party lines. We will bring the performance to North Carolinian audiences in areas of the state with vastly different political leanings. The intent is to foster empathy and listening that would not happen in normal forms of political activism, such as protests or social media posts. After successes with our first foray into journalistic theater before the election (listen to our performance of Purple State Purple Haze), we are confident this is an ideal medium to encourage personal and communal reflection.

 

The First Class on Science Po Lyon's Different Leaders

Lumir Lapray (French Senior Fellow | Humanity in Action Fellowship Paris 2014)

This project aims at creating a space to discuss, advocate, and implement equal access to elite institutions. It will bring together students from poor urban and rural communities, creating a diverse network of different leaders. By creating a space to connect students who traditionally do not  meet, we provide them an opportunity to discuss their shared experiences. We hope that this will contribute to bridging the ever-widening gap between two youth communities who seldom interact. This project also aims at strengthening community ties through leadership: students from the cohort will be encouraged to return home and develop special relationships with their former high school by mentoring seniors who are preparing for admission exams to Sciences Po Lyon. Because we believe that equal access to college should be a priority, we will document these endeavors on social media and make it a topic that is here to stay.

 

Supported by

This grant competition was made possible by generous funding from the The Germeshausen Foundation and a private donor close to the organization.