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Kennedy-Cuomo soon to address human rights

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by Anna Roy
Assistant Features Editor

Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, lawyer, author and human rights advocate will address the University of La Verne community on the issue of human rights Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. in Founders Auditorium.

The event is being sponsored by the Associated Students Federation (ASF) Forum, which allocated $7500 for the event.

Kim Reed, vice president of the advocacy board said Cuomo was chosen to speak because of her extensive experience in the field of human rights and her contributions as a leader. Reed also hopes that students will benefit from “her insight on global issues.”

“As long as it makes people think,” said senior Margaret Tipton, ASF’s public relations. “You don’t necessarily have to agree with what the speaker is saying. Because why else would we bring speakers on campus but to get you thinking. ”

Her commitment to human rights has led her to more than 30 countries, where she has led 40 human rights delegations.

The forum began looking for speakers during the summer.

Human rights are held by all people “equally, universally and forever human rights are those basic standards without which people cannot live in dignity. To violate someone’s rights is to treat a person as though he or she were not a human being” according to her organization’s website.

Human rights abuses include incidents of unfair torture, deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians, detentions without charges or trials and hostage taking.

Cuomo’s commitment to human rights is diverse. She takes on such issues as child labor, sexism, indigenous rights, ethnic violence and the environment both domestically and abroad.

In 1988 she established the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, which works to provide a base of support to human rights defenders. The center also works to uncover and publicizes abuses such as torture, disappearances and repression of free speech. In addition the center works with Congress to highlight human rights in foreign policy and supplies activists with the resources they need to advance their work.

Cuomo’s book, “Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World” contains interviews with 51 advocates, activists and global leaders committed to human rights, including the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Helen Prejean and Elie Wiesel. The book is the subject of a play, a PBS special which has been distributed to thousands of universities and high schools to encourage activism.

Her involvement with organizations includes serving as Chair of the Amnesty International Leadership Council, serves on the National Juvenile Justice League, the International Campaign for Tibet, and National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

Cuomo graduated from Brown University and the Boston College of Law. On a side note, she is married to Andrew Cuomo, who served as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

For more information on Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and human rights visit the websites SpeakTruthToPower.org and www.amnesty.org.

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