Panel discussion looks at human rights issues

On Thursday, Feb. 8, the Housatonic Museum of Art will present the program, Human Rights Panel Discussion: Out of the Shadows, offering a powerhouse collection of experts on urgent human rights issues. Moderated by Fatima Sabri, a young Afghan leader for women’s equality, the panel includes experts and advocates for social justice, LGBTQ equality, breaking the cycle of domestic violence and the rights of women and children. These noted panelists have dedicated themselves to bringing global awareness to the suffering and the injustice of sex trafficking, the practice of female genital mutilation, and children forced to serve as soldiers.

The panel includes Ray Bechard, S. Bear Bergman, Hans Neleman, Debra A. Greenwood, Ann Weiner and Congressman Jim Himes. The discussion takes place at 2 p.m. in the Events Center in Beacon Hall at the Housatonic Community College, located at 900 Lafayette Blvd. in Bridgeport. For additional details visit www.HoustatonicMuseum.org or contact executive director Robbin Zella at 203-332-5052.

“These respected panelists are champions for positive change in human rights. Each comes to this discussion with their own lens of experience, forming a dynamic group of impact leaders for men and women’s rights across the globe,” said Zella.

Moderator Fatima Sabri fled the Taliban with her family when she was a child. As refugees, her family started over and Fatima found strength through education. Today she is a passionate speaker about women’s equality and overcoming vulnerability through education.

Ray Bechard has worked against injustice and freedom of all people for over twenty years. He advises social justice organizations and authored The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America. Bechard also began Men Against Prostitution and Trafficking, the first anti-human trafficking Political Action Committee in America.

Author S. Bear Bergman is the founder of Flamingo Rampant, a children’s press focused on feminist, LGBTQ-positive, racially-diverse children’s books. Bergman is also the writer of the advice column Ask Bear for Bitch Magazine and frequently lectures on issues relating to gender, sexuality, and culture.

Award-winning still life art photographer Hans Neleman traveled to Guatemalan brothels to photograph the women who make their living there. In Night Chicas (2003), Neleman’s images show concern for these women, forcing us to recognize their humanity and the dangerous and damaged world in which they live.

Debra A. Greenwood is the president and CEO of The Center for Family Justice.  For twelve decades the organization has provided free, confidential, bilingual crisis services that help all people affected by domestic and sexual violence restore their lives, and educating our communities to prevent future abuse. 

Ann Weiner is a conceptual artist, advocate and philanthropist. Her latest sculpture installation “When Caged Birds Sing” is currently on view at the Housatonic Museum of Art and focuses on the stories of eight women who have each endured physical, psychological or/and emotional abuse because of their gender; each having survived and bravely gone on to advocate for change on behalf of other women who are still at risk. Ann will discuss her work and her activism through art to raise awareness of these global issues through this important teaching exhibition.

Jim Himes represents Connecticut’s 4th District in the United States House of Representatives where he is serving his fifth term. He is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, serves as the ranking member of the NSA and Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and is Chair of the New Democrat Coalition. Prior to his service in Congress, Jim ran the New York City branch of The Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the unique challenges of urban poverty. Jim’s team led the way in financing the construction of thousands of affordable housing units in the greater New York metropolitan region.

The panel discussion complements the museum’s current exhibition, When Caged Birds Sing by Ann Weiner, on view through Feb. 10. The exhibit features eight life-size sculptures that represent current day activists for women’s rights in the areas of sex trafficking, domestic violence, child marriage, transphobia, honor violence, child soldiers, female genital mutilation, and educational inequality.

The Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA) is located at 900 Lafayette Blvd. in Bridgeport. For more information, visit www.HousatonicMuseum.org.

Fatima Sabri, who fled the Taliban with her family when she was a child and today is a passionate speaker about women’s equality, will moderate the panel discussion.

Fatima Sabri, who fled the Taliban with her family when she was a child and today is a passionate speaker about women’s equality, will moderate the panel discussion.

Award winning still life art photographer Hans Neleman traveled to Guatemalan brothels to photograph the women who make their living there.

Award winning still life art photographer Hans Neleman traveled to Guatemalan brothels to photograph the women who make their living there.

In Night Chicas (2003), Neleman’s images show concern for these women, forcing us to recognize their humanity and the dangerous and damaged world in which they live.

In Night Chicas (2003), Neleman’s images show concern for these women, forcing us to recognize their humanity and the dangerous and damaged world in which they live.

Author S. Bear Bergman is the founder of Flamingo Rampant, a children’s press focused on feminist, LGBTQ-positive, racially-diverse children’s books, and frequently lectures on issues relating to gender, sexuality, and culture.

Author S. Bear Bergman is the founder of Flamingo Rampant, a children’s press focused on feminist, LGBTQ-positive, racially-diverse children’s books, and frequently lectures on issues relating to gender, sexuality, and culture.

 

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