Georgie joined the René Cassin team for a week in July 2018. She left feeling that she’d been given the tools to engage in her own future human rights activism.
I could not be more honoured to have spent the past week conducting my work experience at René Cassin. With each passing day, I have been educated and empowered, and I am so grateful to have been given these tools which I know will propel my own human rights activism in the future. It almost feels too coincidental that this week of work experience took place in mid-2018, with the rise of global nationalism and discrimination compounded with the decline in engagement with human rights. Prior to this week I was becoming increasingly deflated by seeing what was happening to the world around me. As an American citizen, I had spent week after week appalled by the Trump administration: by their abhorrent treatment of refugees at the border as just one example. As a citizen of the UK, I saw Brexit and the move away from the human rights safeguards provided through the Charter for Fundamental Rights and the European Court of Justice. Finally, as a woman, I saw the subjugation and domination of women worldwide, through sex trafficking, FGM and so much more. While disgusted at all of the above – I felt as though I had no true ability to change this.
🏠We really enjoyed attending the APPG for Ending Homelessness’s reception to launch their 2018 report! 🏡 🏘Did you know, there are almost 160,000 households experiencing the worst forms of homelessness in Great Britain? @crisis_uk 🏚 #renecassin #endinghomelessness #appg #homelessness #homelessnessawareness #endhomelessness #unitedkingdom #ukhomeless #neilcoyle #willquince #crisis #housesofparliament #humanrights #rightsforall
Despite always being driven by social justice issues and a desire to create change, I just didn’t know what I could possibly do to combat the horrors I saw all around, and believed that I was powerless to make any real change. However, my experience with René Cassin truly reignited passions for change and actively showed me how achieving this was possible. Daily, I was inspired by the team that surrounded me who worked so hard and achieved so much; the actions of René Cassin demonstrated to me that as socially conscious members of the Jewish community, we have such a great capacity to make tangible changes and improvements to the enactment of human rights within this country.
“I am so grateful to have been given these tools which I know will propel my own human rights activism in the future”
On the first day of this week, I was nervous that I would just be a cog in an organisation, but instead was immediately welcomed warmly and made to feel as though I was part of a team. From the offset I was granted opportunities that opened my eyes to current UK human rights issues and how to tackle these, as René Cassin is constantly doing. I was lucky enough to be able to attend an APPG in Parliament on reducing homelessness – a topic that I was already deeply passionate about – and funnily enough immediately outside the meeting was an exhibition on the history of women in UK politics. I went from reading about women’s total exclusion from politics to being able to sit inside a Parliamentary meeting, highlighting the necessity for impassioned activism exemplified by the work of René Cassin.
“I don’t think that there is anywhere else I could have developed my own knowledge and conviction in the importance of human rights to the degree that I was able to at René Cassin”
I then spent the rest of the week plotting the human rights backgrounds of UK MPs, planning human rights-related sessions for youth movements and was also able to attend a meeting with the Mitzvah Day organisation: rather than being assigned the traditional office work I was given tasks that felt valuable both in furthering my own knowledge of human rights in the UK but also in contributing to the work of René Cassin as a whole.
“my experience with René Cassin truly reignited passions for change and actively showed me how achieving this was possible”
In reflection of this week, I don’t think that there is anywhere else I could have developed my own knowledge and conviction in the importance of human rights to the degree that I was able to at René Cassin. This week has steered my career goals for my later life, and has inspired and solidified my dedication to the attainment of human rights for all, and I am so appreciative to René Cassin for this.