TEXAS, USA: The Line

TEXAS, USA: The Line

lineLast month, I “unfriended” someone on Facebook for the first time. In fact, I had to Google how to unfriend someone. It was December 21, one week after the horrific massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Like most people in America and around the world, I was shaken to my core from the events which transpired on December 14, 2012.

Not only could I not fathom what must have been going through the teacher’s minds on that terrible day (even though I was a teacher myself), but I could not get over the twenty first graders who were murdered. I could not even look at my own first grader for weeks afterwards without getting teary eyed thinking of the parents who would not get to hug and kiss their first graders goodnight.

That is why, when I logged on to my Facebook newsfeed and saw three of a Facebook friend’s children, ages 6, 4 and 2, holding semi automatic rifles under a caption which read “This is how we do Christmas in Texas” one week after the Connecticut shootings, that I could no longer have that person as a friend on Facebook. A line had been crossed, and I could not look away.

Some may say I made a rash decision and I should not “unfriend” someone because of one post, but that post in particular was so upsetting to me that there was no other possible action I could take. I just knew I didn’t want to see it on my newsfeed again. I understand that people have guns to hunt and I respect that, but I do not and most likely will never feel that guns in the hands of young children, even as a joke, will ever be okay with me. Yes, even after being escorted all over Lagos by armed guards and being around guns on a regular basis, I do not feel that guns in the hands of children are ever okay. (more…)

Meredith (USA)

Meredith finds it difficult to tell anyone where she is from exactly! She grew up in several states, but mainly Illinois. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana which is also where she met her husband. She taught kindergarten for seven years before she adopted her son from Guatemala and then gave birth to her daughter two years leter. She moved to Lagos, Nigeria with her husband and two children in July 2009 for her husband's work. She and her family moved back to the U.S.this summer(August 2012) and are adjusting to life back in the U.S. You can read more about her life in Lagos and her adjustment to being back on her blog: We Found Happiness.

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HUMAN RIGHTS: The Lessons of 22 July in Norway

HUMAN RIGHTS: The Lessons of 22 July in Norway

My daughter in Norway in August 2010.
For many in Norway, the terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011 represent the loss of innocence.

On the morning of July 22 last year, I read the breaking news of a car bomb attack in Oslo, Norway.  I clicked on the link to the NRK live coverage, forgetting that my three children rise and swarm, like mosquitoes from tall grass at dusk, at the slightest potentiality of a video.

“WHAT IS HAPPENING?” yelled my then-9-year-old son.

“It looks like a car bomb exploded in downtown Oslo.” (more…)

Jennifer Prestholdt (USA)

Jennifer Prestholdt is a lawyer and the Deputy Director of The Advocates for Human Rights, a volunteer-based human rights organization that works locally, nationally and internationally. Her work in human rights takes her around the world, but she spends most of her time in Minneapolis, MN, where she lives with her children (two sons and one daughter), her husband, an elderly cat and a dwarf hamster.

As Jennifer’s kids are now all in school (1st, 4th and 6th grades), she is finally finding more time to do the things that she used to love to do, especially running, writing and knitting. Jennifer loves to travel and has had the dubious distinction of having been accidentally locked in a bathroom on five continents so far. Australia and Antarctica await!

In January 2011, Jennifer made a New Year’s Resolution to start writing about her experiences in order to share with her children the lessons learned from 15 years of work in human rights. The result is her personal blog, The Human Rights Warrior. The name comes from her son Simon, who was extremely disappointed to learn that his mother is a lawyer, not a warrior.

You can find her on her blog The Human Rights Warrior or on Twitter @Jprestholdt.

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