Through joining PeaceJam Southeast (PJSE) at Florida State University, I've had the opportunity to meet many inspiring PeaceJam leaders from around the world, one of these being Belén Quiñones. Belén currently serves as the president of PeaceJam Mérida at Universidad Marista de Mérida where she studies in the hopes of becoming a Graphic Designer. Her passion for human rights and community building is seen beyond PeaceJam Mérida and through many areas of her life, including her involvement with the youth organization Jornada de Derechos Humanos AC.
As of July 2020, this group of strong leaders became the first Mexican youth organization to be extended an invitation to the Nobel Prize Summit in South Korea through their new partnership with the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.
This remarkable accomplishment would not have been possible without the nonprofit's devotion to empowering Latin American youth through human rights education and training.
Seeking to gain more of an insight on Jornada de Derechos Humanos AC, I spoke personally with Belén on their future plans and current project called the Misión Resistencia Challenge.
What is the mission of the Jornada de Herechos Humanos AC organization?
It is a non-profit civil association founded in 2013 in Merida, Yucatán, México, focused on Education and Training in Human Rights and Peace for young people. Our mission is to promote safe spaces for discussion of human rights issues in which young people can express themselves, receive an education, and thereby contribute to the construction of a just, informed, and democratic society in which human dignity is fully respected in all its forms.
Why have the Jornada de Derechos Humanos AC organization created the Misión Resistencia Challenge?
Humanity is living one of the greatest challenges it will face not only in years but most likely in decades. The end of this pandemic will leave young people with already existing, and in many cases intensified, problems. Therefore, they will require the educational tools to face these new scenarios in which they will be immersed in the near future. Misión Resistencia Challenge will offer these tools with which young people will be able to train and fight first hand with these situations.
Why is the organization's invitation to collaborate with the Permanent Secretariat of the Nobel Summit important?
The importance of our invitation is that we are the first Latin American organization to receive this endorsement as members of the Permanent Secretariat, we have been entrusted with the power to lead future movements involving the Permanent Secretariat in Latin America. But above all, it offers a door, a door in which the world will be able to see the countries of Latin America as they really should be portrayed. With young leaders who are committed to educating themselves, to challenging themselves day by day, and, above all, committed to changing their environment.
What is the organization's plan for the year 2020 and into 2021?
Jornada de Derechos Humanos AC through the alliance with the Permanent Secretariat of the Nobel Laureates, will bring scholarships to 150 young people from the states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo and Campeche in Mexico, to receive the official course of the Secretariat. These courses will include teachers of the highest level, committed to providing the best human rights education.
How will the organization collect funds for future scholarships?
The organization is raising funds through a Latin American crowdfunding platform called "Donadora" where people from all over the world can donate from as little as $5 dollars. We have also partnered with the Malaysian clothing brand "Shout," which makes hoodies with materials rescued from the ocean, so if you support by buying, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the fundraiser to provide the 150 scholarships. Each hoodie is $105 dollars and has international shipping.
What have the Jornada de Derechos Humanos AC already accomplished?
So far, Jornada de Derechos Humanos A.C. has carried out more than 200 free activities, with more than 100 guests and national and international institutions specialized in human rights where more than 25,000 people have participated directly and indirectly. Currently, all our efforts are focused on fundraising to achieve our goal. To this end, we have made alliances with activists around Mexico and the world, who will support us in promoting the Challenge.
* * *
Although the current coronavirus pandemic has created many unknowns for this organization, their passion for improving the lives of youth in their region could not be stronger.