The Human Rights Campaign Honors Human Rights Day with Grants to Global LGBTQ Advocates

by Aryn Fields

Today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation is commemorating Human Rights Day by announcing the launch of a Global Small Grants Program, which is supporting 20 initiatives to advance the human rights of LGBTQ people in 17 countries. HRC is also joining a public campaign with other advocates calling on Nigerian President Mahammadu Buhari to take action against ongoing human rights abuses in Nigeria.

Human Rights Day marks the date in 1948 when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that was the first time the global community spelled out a set of inalienable rights everyone is entitled to, including LGBTQ people.

“Human Rights Day is a celebration of the incredible progress the LGBTQ community has made to secure equality across the globe, but also is a stark reminder of the work that remains to be done to combat the widespread persecution and oppression that challenges our community,” said Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President. “This year, in countries from every region of the world, we are able to strengthen efforts to promote LGBTQ human rights through our Global Small Grants Program and signal to the international community that equality must continue to be a priority. We must recommit ourselves to putting in the hard work to build a world where every person is empowered no matter what country they call home.”

HRC’s Global Small Grants Program continues to build on Human Rights Day by supporting efforts to advance equality around the world. Each grant recipient will receive up to $5,000 to fund programs that will either foster virtual programming in a COVID-19 environment; or boost initiatives on building allies among communities of faith or in business. The grants support alumni of HRC’s global programs—a network of 180 LGBTQ advocates from 90 countries. One of the grant recipients is Track-T, a community based organization in Pakistan working to advance transgender rights. With a grant from HRC, Track-T will be able to create weekly online programming directly serving the transgender community in Pakistan.

“As a transgender rights activist, International Human Rights Day reminds me of my responsibility to my community and motivates me to ensure that trans people have all the same inclusive rights, including safety, freedom of speech, access to education and healthcare, equal work opportunities, and a dignified life,” said Jannat Ali, Director of Track-T.

Another grant recipient is Fundación Sergio Urrego, an organization in Colombia dedicated to preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth. With the grant funding, they will engage people of faith in virtual dialogues to support their efforts to end bullying of LGBTQ children.

“This is an opportunity to say that discrimination against LGBTI people on religious grounds has affected their mental health,” said Alba Reyes, Director of Fundación Sergio Urrego. “Mental health is also a human right and must be an imperative for all nations of the world. HRC has been an important ally in this matter, and this grant will open up new avenues for us to advocate for suicide prevention and an end to discrimination against LGBTI youth.”

In addition to the small grants program, HRC is joining with Black Lives Matter founder Opal Tometi, Dr. Bernice King, Danny Glover and several others to pen a historic open letter in the New York Times to Nigerian President Buhari in support of the #EndSARS movement. #EndSARS is a grassroots movement and series of protests against police brutality in Nigeria, calling to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a unit of the Nigerian Police with a long history of human rights violations. The letter calls for the release of all jailed protestors, to hold the police and military officers responsible for ongoing violence accountable and to lift the ban on peaceful demonstrations.

The HRC Foundation is grateful to Open Society Foundations, Fred P. Hochberg and the Heyday Foundation, Metlife Foundation and The Walt Disney Corporation for their support of our global programs. Below are the grant recipient organizations and their respective countries:

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