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First Fridays: 12.3.21

December 2021 – Human Rights Month

Happy December! December is recognized as Human Rights month! The month-long celebration originated with the United Nations adopting the Universal Declaration of Human rights on December 10, 1948.

In this edition of First Fridays, we highlight media and art related to human rights, both locally and across the world. An issue cannot be tackled until there is awareness of it. Many of these works provide unique insights and personal perspectives. At Progress North, we champion for human rights this month and every month. We hope this collection broadens your view and strengthens your commitment to fighting alongside us for legislation and structure that supports our human rights, including the rights to safety for people of all colors, to healthcare for people of all incomes, to clean air and water regardless of living in a city or out in the woods, and much more.

In this episode of “Movement Memos,” Water Protectors who resisted the construction of Line 3 talk about the campaign to drop the charges against them, what keeps them hopeful, and about what happens when fossil fuel companies fund the police. Guests include Minneapolis attorney Joshua Preston, who works directly to support and defend Line 3 arrestees.

An American mother living in the heart of the ISIS caliphate. Her husband an ISIS sniper. Her 10-year-old son forced to threaten the U.S. president in a propaganda video shown around the world. She claims she was tricked into taking her young children to war-torn Syria, but where does her account end and the truth begin?

RightsUp explores the big human rights issues of the day through interviews with experts, academics, practicing lawyers, activists and policy makers who are at the forefront of tackling the world’s most difficult human rights questions.

Tune in as we explore human rights with people who study them, and people who fight for them, from the UK and around the world. Started in 2016, the podcast brings in academics, activists, and practitioners for accessible discussions about their areas of expertise as they relate to human rights for audiences from all walks of life

20/20 Special “Escape from a House of Horror – A Diane Sawyer Special Event” – by ABC, available via Hulu (streaming). Originally released 11/19/21.

This television special focuses on Jordan Turpin and Jennifer Turpin, who are two of thirteen siblings rescued from their abusive parents in California following Jordan’s brave escape in 2018. The special highlights the significant physical and psychological abuse they endured and gives a glimpse into the siblings’ lives now, including injustice regarding services from Riverside County. The sisters additionally convey their wish that neighbors had reported their suspicions.

To learn more about reporting abuse in Wisconsin, please visit:

First They Killed My Father (Netflix Original Film), 2017 – A 5-year-old girl embarks on a harrowing quest for survival amid the sudden rise and terrifying reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

This is Ear Hustle by Nigel Poor & Earlonne Woods

The United States locks up more people per capita than any other nation in the world–600,000 each year and 2.3 million in total. The acclaimed podcast Ear Hustle, named after the prison term for eavesdropping, gives voice to that ever-growing prison population.

Co-created for the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX by visual artist Nigel Poor and inmate Earlonne Woods, who was serving thirty-one years to life before his sentence was commuted in 2018, Ear Hustle was launched in the basement media lab of California’s San Quentin State Prison. As the first podcast created and produced entirely within prison, it has since been globally lauded for the rare access and perspective it contributes to the conversation about incarceration.

Now, in their first book, Poor and Woods present unheard stories that delve deeper into the experiences of incarceration and share their personal paths to San Quentin as well as how they came to be co-creators. This unprecedented narrative, enhanced by forty original black-and-white illustrations, reveals the spectrum of humanity of those in prison and navigating post-incarceration. Bringing to the page the same insight, balance, and charismatic rapport that has distinguished their podcast, Poor and Woods illuminate the full–and often surprising–realities of prison life. With characteristic candor and humor, their portrayals include unexpected moments of self-discovery, unlikely alliances, and many ingenious work-arounds. One personal narrative at a time, framed by Poor’s and Wood’s distinct perspectives, This Is Ear Hustle tells the real lived experience of the criminal justice system.

Please note that this book contains explicit descriptions of violence.

Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States by Samantha Allen

A transgender reporter’s narrative tour through the surprisingly vibrant queer communities sprouting up in red states, offering a vision of a stronger, more humane America.

Ten years ago, Samantha Allen was a suit-and-tie-wearing Mormon missionary. Now she’s a senior Daily Beast reporter happily married to another woman. A lot in her life has changed, but what hasn’t changed is her deep love of Red State America, and of queer people who stay in so-called “flyover country” rather than moving to the liberal coasts.

In Real Queer America, Allen takes us on a cross-country road-trip stretching all the way from Provo, Utah to the Rio Grande Valley to the Bible Belt to the Deep South. Her motto for the trip: “Something gay every day.” Making pit stops at drag shows, political rallies, and hubs of queer life across the heartland, she introduces us to scores of extraordinary LGBT people working for change, from the first openly transgender mayor in Texas history to the manager of the only queer night club in Bloomington, Indiana, and many more.

Capturing profound cultural shifts underway in unexpected places and revealing a national network of chosen family fighting for a better world, Real Queer America is a treasure trove of uplifting stories and a much-needed source of hope and inspiration in these divided times.

Kaleigh Nelles is a member of the Progress North Community Contributor Team

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