Category Archives: Activism

An Overview of Betsy DeVos’ Involvement in Educational Reform

Currently, Mrs. Betsy DeVos is serving as the head of education in the United States. After many years of activism seeking reforms within the education sector, Betsy was rewarded by the President of the United States, Donald Trump when she was appointed as Education Secretary. For close the 30 years, Mrs. DeVos was advocating for rights of underserved kids who could not access quality education simply because of their family backgrounds. She has always focused on finding sustainable solutions that would deliver equity in the education policy. At the same time, she has been very concerned about the quality of education received by under-privileged kids. Mrs. DeVos played vital role of creating a movement that is responsible for mobilizing other reformers, politicians and state authorities to implement relevant policies to improve education standard. The education choice fronted by Mrs. Betsy DeVos has spread in 25 states across the U.S., and the District of Columbia. Visit Betsy’s profile page on Facebook.

Betsy’s Desire to Help Less fortunate Kids

For many years, Betsy and Dick DeVos have donated millions of dollars to support philanthropic causes in the state of Michigan. She began supporting specific students at Potters House School after realizing that some parents were finding it hard to pay school fees despite the school serving kids from less fortunate families. However, these parents could do anything to ensure they send their kids to school to receive education. The sponsorship they offered the most vulnerable students was not enough because the number was large. Betsy partnered with other activists advancing similar cause, and they started seeking long-term solutions that would address this problem. Using her political skills and experience, she began political initiatives like Great Lake Education Project based in Michigan to spearhead the necessary education reforms. The movement recorded massive success two years after launching, and all partners thought it was the right time to spread it to other states.

Read more: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/interview_with_betsy_devos

Betsy DeVos’ Personal Biography

Before she joined the government, Mrs. Betsy DeVos served as an executive of a family owned business The Windquest Group. Betsy Devos received her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Michigan based Calvin College. In fact, she began her political ambitions at this college, where she actively participated in campus politics. Later on in her life, Mrs. DeVos engage in Michigan Republican’s politics where she was elected as its chair. She has also formed several political action committees to advance to push for the reforms at state and national level. For 15 years, Mrs. DeVos was involved in mentoring vulnerable kids, their parents and teachers. This offered her the opportunity to understand how the education system was discriminating other kids based on the ZIP code of their homes, something that should not be happening in the 21st century.

Thor Halvorssen: Activisim for the Betterment of Humanity

There are many people that claim to be defenders and crusaders of human rights. However, not many of them are ready to do everything that it takes to ensure that every human is treated with dignity regardless of their color, wealth or other conditions of life. However, Thor Halvorssen is one activist with a different mindset. He has been the champion of the will of the defenseless for a number of years now and if his success is anything to go by, it pays to help other humans get better treatment from the government and society in general.

Thor is a citizen of Venezuela by birth. Many people have described him as one that was born into the life of activism because both his parents were activists. His father was originally Norwegian while his mother came from the lineage of one of the founding fathers of the nation of Venezuela. When he was a teenager, he watched his father get tortured under a cruel and dictatorial regime. This really changed his outlook on life and thus came his decision to become an activist and learn more about Thor.

He founded the Oslo Freedom Forum. This is a human rights gathering that has been gaining following and has such a huge momentum that currently it has been described as the human rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum. He has also been through a lot in his attempts to advocate for human rights. For instance, there was a time when he was captured in Vietnam when covering a human rights interest story in their prison system. One of his cameramen had to escape with the video tape hidden in his person because their captors wanted it destroyed and more information click here.

He says that he does not believe in the kind of activism where people group together depending on their shared beliefs. He is a lover of all people, but describes himself as a hater of humanity because of their inhumane nature. He states that he does not discriminate against anyone and that as long as he is running in the same cause with a person, then the person is fit enough to be called his friend. Thor is a truly inspirational filmmaker and activist.

Outspoken Thor Halvorssen

Thor Halvorssen, orator, human rights activist, and film producer is the founder of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) located in New York City, New York. Under his activist leadership, the HRF does many things to improve freedoms, human conditions and defeat dictatorships. One program, Exposing Dictatorships discourages celebrities from performing in locations subject to dictator ruling, in addition they publicly berate American Public Relation firms for exchanging their services for “donations” to their firms. This list has included but has not been limited to:

  • Jennifer Lopez for her performance in Turkmenistan;
  • Kanye West, who performed at President Mursultan Nazabavev’s grandson’s wedding in Kazakhstan;
  • Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj for their performances in Angola.
  • The Leon H. Sullivan Foundation in Equatorial Guinea who is believed to have cleaned up President Teodoro Obiang’s public image of operating the country with no concern for human rights.

Through his film producing efforts, Thor has persistently attempted to advocate against suppression and educate people about poor conditions across the globe regarding human rights. Among these efforts are movies:

  • Freedom’s Fury is a documentary that focuses on the 1956 Summer Olympics in Australia. More specifically the semifinal water polo competition between the then USSR and Hungary, which would come to be known as the violent “blood in the water match.” This film debuted in 2006 at the Tribeca Film Festival on the 50th anniversary of the event.
  • Released in 2009, the science fiction movie, 2081 projects a possible future America, where individual inequality has been eliminated by the make-believe 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments to the constitution.
  • The Singing Revolution, another 2006 film is about Estonians who together fight against Russian occupation by singing patriotic songs. Certainly, not your typical idea of a revolution, but it makes the point regarding human suppression.

There are others, along with numerous written publications; however, the important note to make here is that Thor Halvorssen, offers expertise in the fields of human and civil rights.

 

 

The People and Brenda Wardle Versus Penny Sparrow

Sharing racist and offensive materials over social media is by no means new. In the past, such postings or sharing has led to public shaming, separation from employment and even legal repercussions. This is the case even in South Africa, where groups like “Woke Twitter” are on the prowl to expose such behavior and the people who perpetuate them online.

Penny Sparrow, a woman made famous after sharing a racially incendiary post demeaning Black South Africans at a beach, has been separated by the Democratic Alliance which quickly tried to distance itself from her and her views. Woke Twitter also exposed Chris Hart and Justin Van Vuuren for their racist posts.

Woke Twitter, which has aligned itself with movements such as the #BLACKLIVESMATTER organizations that have been active in the US over the last year, has become something of an Internet crusade to expose harmful views on race, sex, gender, cultural stereotypes and the people who share them. Their intent, they’ve stated, is to promote tolerance and encourage the South African government to legislate in favor of protections for people of color in their nation.

Charmaine Crowie, Sparrow’s daughter, spoke to the Cape Argus following the fallout that publicly shamed her mother, claiming that the family has been the target of harassing and threatening messages in response to the post. This mirrors concerns some have over groups like Woke Twitter and the effects of their well-meaning actions.

But what of Penny Sparrow and others like her? The end of apartheid as an institution of South African society was not that long ago, meaning there would be others like her, and technically nothing she did could be considered criminal or in violation of the South African constitution. Or could it?

Legal analyst, Brenda Wardle, has stepped forward to make sense of Sparrow’s posting. She stated that although Sparrow has a right to free speech, the dehumanizing components of her post broke clauses of the constitution, placing prejudice on Black South Africans and limiting their opportunity to equal speech with her racially offensive language.

Operating as Chief Operations Officer at the Wardle College of Law, Brenda Wardle is a respected legal analyst of South African law. She became a prominent legal mind during the early days of the Oscar Pistorius trial and authored her analysis in “To Kill a Fragile Rose: the State’s Case Against Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius”.

When deciding what is and isn’t worth sharing online, it’s safe to say that someone is watching and consequences may be inbound.

Watch Brenda Wardle: