Wednesday, January 3, 2018
An exciting human rights education project from North Dakota just came across the transom.
"Those Among Us: The Human Rights Champions of North Dakota” is a multi-disciplinary media project documenting the human rights and social justice champions of North Dakota. Through portrait photographs, essays written by the participants and video interviews capturing discussions about the motivation behind and the importance of their work, “Those Among Us” strives to create a historical record of the important work currently taking place in North Dakota.
The completed project will feature the glass wet-plate collodion photography of Shane Balkowitsch both in book form and within a traveling gallery exhibition designed to promote the efforts in North Dakota to preserve and protect human rights. The project will also feature a documentary film series about human rights in North Dakota by independent filmmaker Sean Coffman. The book's essays will track the rights included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. You can see the project's impressive website and read about some of the Human Rights Champions here.
Kudos to the visionary groups that are supporting the “Those Among Us" project, including the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition and The Human Family, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation, support, promotion and distribution of human rights and social issue-based projects in North Dakota, with a special emphasis on film, art and social justice.
This project builds on skills found only in North Dakota: Shane Balkowitsch is one of the only people in the world still practicing wet plate photography. But there are many places in the U.S. where a similar confluence of unique skills, vision, and interest might come together.
Could "Those Among Us" be a model for human rights education in other communities?