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New Hate Crimes Bill Would Protect Homeless

Hate crimes legislation has long sought to keep personal prejudice from boiling over into public violence, by stiffening the consequences for bias-based crimes. Yet one routinely victimized class of Americans is left entirely unprotected by hate crimes laws― even though violent attacks on this population outnumber all other categories of hate crimes combined. On behalf of homeless Americans, CA Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal is hoping to redress the oversight with Assembly Bill 312, which would allow bias-related violence against homeless people to be designated as a hate crime.

No Barriers Summit asks "What's in your way?"

When Erik Weihenmayer stood at the summit of Mount Everest, when Mark Wellman scaled Yosemite's El Capitan, their accomplishments rendered irrelevant one more distinction: the difference between 'normal' and disabled. Weihenmayer, who is blind, and Wellman, who is paraplegic, are founding members of No Barriers USA, No Barrierswhose June No Barriers Summit 2011 is an international festival that gives people living with disabilities access to adaptive outdoor clinics, education and demonstrations of cutting-edge technologies, and arts and entertainment.

National Link: Teacher Appreciation

National Teachers' Day

Teacher Appreciation

On May 3rd, the United States celebrated the 26th official National Teachers' Day, to show appreciation for educators all over the country. While 1985 marked the first federally recognized day to honor teachers, the history of teacher appreciation runs far deeper.

UNITY Lab Tools for Change: TEACH

Tool of TEACH

TEACHLaurence Tan is a great example of the successful implementation of the TEACH Tool for Transformation. Moving beyond simply reciting to students the three R's, TEACH encompasses the education of groups of individuals and improvement of the communities in which they live. Laurence, as a leader in the Watts community of Los Angeles, takes TEACH to a new level by demonstrating that each of his students has value--and the ability to change the world.

To many, a twelve-hour workday could not be done without the incentive of overtime. Laurence's incentive, however, is the opportunity for success that he provides for each one of his students. After keeping his classroom open for students that need help with homework, Laurence works with the Watts Youth Collective to provide a safe place for students, alumni, and community youth to creatively express themselves.

UNITY Lab Tools for Change: PROTEST

Power of PROTEST

ProtestAnother extraORDINARY Person this month, Erica Fernandez, exemplifies how the tool of PROTEST can effect positive social change. Unfortunately, our souring political climate has called for more PROTEST than usual, to preserve civil liberties, workers' rights and essential social programs in the face of unprecedented government cuts.

Best Practices: SEEDS

(Ecological Society of America)

The Ecological Society of America established the SEEDS program in 1996 "to reduce, over time, the serious under-representation SEEDSwithin the field of ecology of individuals from certain minority groups." By diversifying and advancing the profession of ecology among these groups, SEEDS can champion the ideals of environmentalism in communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental justice issues, and lack the political capital
to ensure equity.

As an education- and experience-based organization, SEEDS nurtures underrepresented students' interests through opportunities like student field trips, undergraduate research fellowships, Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting awards, and campus ecology chapters. This month's extraORDINARY Person, Erica Fernandez, is co-president of the Stanford University Chapter.

National Link: Historical Perspective

Earth Day

EarthDayOn April 22, schools around the country will celebrate Earth Day, with record participation from young students. Whether for the entire week or just the day, hands-on activities will raise students' awareness about their relationship with the planet, how they can help improve the air, water and soil for future generations, and how environmental health is essential to peace and harmony all over the globe. However, it wasn't so long ago that Earth Day didn't exist, and young environmentalists didn't have the voice they have today.

UNITY Lab Tour: Harmony Garden Laboratory

Building Unity Through Environmental Justice

Building unity requires numerous stakeholders acting together on distinct but interlocking
platforms to create positive social change. Environmental justice is one of these platforms, and is inseparable from the social justice we work toward every day. Improving the planet and building harmony go hand-in-hand.

Best Practices: Project Jatropha

Changing Perspectives and the Climate

ProjectJatrophaOne of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas pollution is the bulldozing, clearcutting, and rainforest burns necessary for crop cultivation. This is current practice in India, where commercial tobacco farming requires vast clearcuts of precious forest. Greenhouse gasses are released when trees are burned; what’s more, the loss of these natural carbon sinks, harms the planet’s ability to regulate our climate, exacerbating the effects of existing greenhouse gasses.

National Women's History Month

National Women's History Month  
Our History is Our Strength'


The Institute for Advancing Unity believes that positive social change requires groundbreaking Tools for Transformation.
This month, we highlight Florence Jones, who used the Tool of EMBRACE CULTURE to promote the values of harmony at the core of Wintu heritage and culture.

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