Thank you, Emma Watson

Emma Watson Source: UN Women
Emma Watson
Source: UN Women

I have never written a blog post before. I don’t consider myself to be a political person. I have never marched in a protest. I have never even voted in an election. All of this might make me seem apathetic, but it is only because I am just 13 years old. Emma Watson’s recent speech to the UN advocating for gender equality reminded me that even young people can and should have opinions. Emma Watson’s speech inspired me to think about gender equality in a new light. It made me think about ways that I have been treated unequally by my male peers.

Gender stereotyping can occur at a very young age. I remember during my lower school experience. In fifth grade, the boys in my class made a list of the top ten “hottest” girls in our class. They were listing us as though we were objects, and they were only 10 years old. This is one reason why I believe that, although adults should be a big part of creating gender equality, children need to be a part of the conversation, too.

Emma Watson’s speech made me realize, first, that girls are discriminated in society just as much as women. For example, many girls in South East Asia are denied an education because their families believe that educating girls is not as profitable as educating boys. Horribly, some of these girls are even sold into prostitution in order to make a profit for their families. Where did these ideas come about that girls are less capable of learning than boys?

Second, I had never thought that the word “feminism” had a negative connotation. I had neither associated it with “man- hating” nor had I ever thought it meant women having more rights than men. I had always thought of feminism as a concept describing the efforts to create an equal society for men and women. What in the world could be wrong with that? Maybe I should have known better but I was very disappointed to hear Emma Watson declare that no country in the world – even America – has achieved gender equality to date.

Lastly, Emma Watson helped me see that women cannot be the only ones pushing to have equal rights. Men have to join this movement as well. How can we achieve gender equality if only half of our society is advocating for it? I believe that feminism is a notion that one-day women will not be seen as objects to be sold or disrespected, but as peers with equal rights to men. This is what I wish for in society.

By: Jenna Schulman, an 8th grade student in Washington, D.C. 

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Too Young to Wed

too young to wed close

I’m traveling to Geneva next week along with representatives of the International Oromo Youth Association to meet with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to talk about children’s rights in Ethiopia. We submitted a report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in July, and the Committee invited us to meet with Committee members in a 2.5 hour, closed-door session next Friday.

hall overview 2As I get ready to head back to Geneva, my thoughts turn to my last visit to the United Nations, back in March. As I wandered through the Palais des Nations complex of buildings after a busy day, I came across an exhibit that left me speechless. This exhibit was in the majestic main hallway of the old League of Nations building—a space with towering ceilings and beautiful views of Lake Geneva. But in that grand setting was a photo exhibit about a pernicious contemporary global human rights violation: child marriage. Child marriage is a worldwide phenomenon, but as it turns out, several of the girls in the exhibit are from Ethiopia.

And the exhibit is particularly timely right now. On Monday, Bangladesh approved a law that will impose a two-year prison sentence on anyone who marries a girl under age 18. And on Wednesday, a judge in India admonished the parents and in-laws of a 14-year-old bride, stating “Child marriage is an evil worst than rape and should be completely eradicated from the society.” The magistrate continued:

There are serious outcomes of child marriage. It is the worst form of domestic violence against the child, not only by the respondents (husband and his family) but also by her own parents. Child brides have a diminished chance of completing their education and are at a higher risk of being physically abused, contracting HIV and other diseases, and dying while pregnant or giving birth.

The traveling exhibit, called “Too Young to Wed” (more information at the bottom of this post), is a striking example of how art can inform our understanding of human rights issues:

Yemen: Young girls sit inside a home outside of Al Hudaydah. Yemeni women’s rights groups agree that child marriage is rampant in every part of Yemeni society.
Yemen: Young girls sit inside a home outside of Al Hudaydah. Yemeni women’s rights groups agree that child marriage is rampant in every part of Yemeni society.
Yemen: Galiyaah, age 13, Sidaba, age 11, Khawlah, age 12. In Yemen, where marriage can resemble a business transaction, sisters Galiyaah (left) and Sidaba (center), marry the brothers of their cousin, Khawlah (right), who wed the sisters’ uncle.
Yemen: Galiyaah, age 13, Sidaba, age 11, Khawlah, age 12. In Yemen, where marriage can resemble a business transaction, sisters Galiyaah (left) and Sidaba (center), marry the brothers of their cousin, Khawlah (right), who wed the sisters’ uncle.
Ethiopia: Debitu, age 14. Debitu escaped from her husband after months of abuse. Seven months pregnant, she is now homeless and uncertain of her future. “I didn’t want to get pregnant because I was very small. I wanted to wait until I am old enough. . . Sometimes I think I will die [during child birth].”
Ethiopia: Debitu, age 14. Debitu escaped from her husband after months of abuse. Seven months pregnant, she is now homeless and uncertain of her future. “I didn’t want to get pregnant because I was very small. I wanted to wait until I am old enough. . . Sometimes I think I will die [during child birth].”
Nepal: Surita, age 16, Bishal, age 15. Bishal accepts gifts from visitors as his new bride, Surita, sits bored at her new home. Here in Nepal, as in many countries, not only girls, but boys too are married young.
Nepal: Surita, age 16, Bishal, age 15. Bishal accepts gifts from visitors as his new bride, Surita, sits bored at her new home. Here in Nepal, as in many countries, not only girls, but boys too are married young.
Nepal: Sumeena, Age 15. Sumeena leaves her home to meet her groom, Prakash, 15. The harmful practice of child marriage is common in Nepal.
Nepal: Sumeena, age 15. Sumeena leaves her home to meet her groom, Prakash, 15. The harmful practice of child marriage is common in Nepal.
Ethiopia: Destaye, age 11, Addisu, age 23. Addisu and his new bride Destaye are married in a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox wedding in a rural area outside the city of Gondar, Ethiopia. Community members said that because of Addisu’s standing as a priest, his bride had to be a virgin. This was the reason Destaye was given to him at such a young age.
Ethiopia: Destaye, age 11, Addisu, age 23. Addisu and his new bride Destaye are married in a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox wedding in a rural area outside the city of Gondar, Ethiopia. Community members said that because of Addisu’s standing as a priest, his bride had to be a virgin. This was the reason Destaye was given to him at such a young age.
(right) Ethiopia: Destaye, age 11. Destaye, now 15, intended to continue her schooling, in spite of the teasing she endured from her community. “They used to laugh at me for going to school after marriage,” she said. “But I know the use of school so I don’t care. . . . But people laughing at you makes it more difficult.” But after the birth of her son six months ago, Destaye no longer had time for classes. “I feel sad because I quit learning,” she said.
(right) Ethiopia: Destaye, age 11. Destaye, now 15, intended to continue her schooling, in spite of the teasing she endured from her community. “They used to laugh at me for going to school after marriage,” she said. “But I know the use of school so I don’t care. . . . But people laughing at you makes it more difficult.” But after the birth of her son six months ago, Destaye no longer had time for classes. “I feel sad because I quit learning,” she said.
Ethiopia: Members of the Fistula Girls Club and the Community-based Reproductive Association get ready to perform a traditional dance during a performance against child marriage in Shende village in Ethiopia. This is one of many events hosted by the groups to discourage early marriage and other harmful practices in the Bure district.
Ethiopia: Members of the Fistula Girls Club and the Community-based Reproductive Association get ready to perform a traditional dance during a performance against child marriage in Shende village in Ethiopia. This is one of many events hosted by the groups to discourage early marriage and other harmful practices in the Bure district.
Afghanistan: Ghulam, age 11. Ghulam plays in the village on the day of her engagement. Removed from school just months earlier, she said she is sad to be getting engaged because she wanted to be a teacher. Parents sometimes remove their daughters from school to protect them from the possibility of sexual activity outside of wedlock.
Afghanistan: Ghulam, age 11. Ghulam plays in the village on the day of her engagement. Removed from school just months earlier, she said she is sad to be getting engaged because she wanted to be a teacher. Parents sometimes remove their daughters from school to protect them from the possibility of sexual activity outside of wedlock.
Afghanistan: Ghulam, age 11; Faiz, age 40. Ghulam and Faiz, age 40, sit for a portrait in her home before their wedding in Afghanistan. According to the U.S. Department of State report “Human Rights Practices for 2011,” approximately 60 percent of girls were married younger than the legal age of 16. Once a girl’s father has agreed to her engagement, she is pulled out of school immediately.
Afghanistan: Ghulam, age 11; Faiz, age 40. Ghulam and Faiz, age 40, sit for a portrait in her home before their wedding in Afghanistan. According to the U.S. Department of State report “Human Rights Practices for 2011,” approximately 60 percent of girls were married younger than the legal age of 16. Once a girl’s father has agreed to her engagement, she is pulled out of school immediately.
Yemen: Nujood, age 12. Nujood Ali, two years after her divorce from her husband, who was more than 20 years her senior. Nujood’s story sent shock waves around the country and caused parliament to consider a bill writing a minimum marriage age into law.
Yemen: Nujood, age 12. Nujood Ali, two years after her divorce from her husband, who was more than 20 years her senior. Nujood’s story sent shock waves around the country and caused parliament to consider a bill writing a minimum marriage age into law.
Ethiopia: Street girls attend classes at Godanaw Rehabilitation Integrated Project (GRIP) in Addis Ababa. This Ethiopian humanitarian shelter provides skills training and health care to thousands of street girls—three-quarters of whom have escaped early marriages in the countryside.
Ethiopia: Street girls attend classes at Godanaw Rehabilitation Integrated Project (GRIP) in Addis Ababa. This Ethiopian humanitarian shelter provides skills training and health care to thousands of street girls—three-quarters of whom have escaped early marriages in the countryside.
Yemen: Asia, age 14. Asia washes her newborn at home in Hajjah while her 2-year-oldl daughter plays. Asia is still bleeding and ill from childbirth, yet has no knowledge of how to care for herself or access to maternal health care.
Yemen: Asia, age 14. Asia washes her newborn at home in Hajjah while her 2-year-old daughter plays. Asia is still bleeding and ill from childbirth, yet has no knowledge of how to care for herself or access to maternal health care.
Ethiopia: China, age 18. A young sex worker named China sits stunned after being beaten up by a client. Many of the girls who run away from child marriages end up trafficked to brothels where they often face intense violence.
Ethiopia: China, age 18. A young sex worker named China sits stunned after being beaten up by a client. Many of the girls who run away from child marriages end up trafficked to brothels where they often face intense violence.
Afghanistan: Jamila, age 15. Kandahar policewoman Malalai Kakar arrests a man who repeatedly stabbed his wife, 15, and mother of two children, for disobeying him. When asked what would happen to the husband for this crime, Kakar replied, “Nothing. Men are kings here.” Kakar was later killed by the Taliban.
Afghanistan: Jamila, age 15. Kandahar policewoman Malalai Kakar arrests a man who repeatedly stabbed his wife, 15, and mother of two children, for disobeying him. When asked what would happen to the husband for this crime, Kakar replied, “Nothing. Men are kings here.” Kakar was later killed by the Taliban.
Afghanistan: Mejgon, Age 16. Mejgon weeps in the arms of the case worker near fellow residents at an NGO shelter run by Afghan women in Herat, Afghanistan. Mejgon’s father sold her at the age of 11 to a 60-year-old man for two boxes of heroin.
Afghanistan: Mejgon, Age 16. Mejgon weeps in the arms of the case worker near fellow residents at an NGO shelter run by Afghan women in Herat, Afghanistan. Mejgon’s father sold her at the age of 11 to a 60-year-old man for two boxes of heroin.
Yemen: Tehani, age 8. “Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him,” Tehani (in pink) recalls of the early days of her marriage to Majed, when she was 6 and he was 25. The young wife posed for a portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their home in Hajjah.
Yemen: Tehani, age 8. “Whenever I saw him, I hid. I hated to see him,” Tehani (in pink) recalls of the early days of her marriage to Majed, when she was 6 and he was 25. The young wife posed for a portrait with former classmate Ghada, also a child bride, outside their home in Hajjah.
India: Sarita, age 15. Sarita is seen in tears before she is sent to her new home with her new groom. The previous day, she and her 8-year-old sister Maya were married to sibling brothers.
India: Sarita, age 15. Sarita is seen in tears before she is sent to her new home with her new groom. The previous day, she and her 8-year-old sister Maya were married to sibling brothers.
(left) India: Rajani, age 5. Long after midnight, Rajani is roused from sleep and carried by her uncle to her wedding. Child marriage is illegal in India, so ceremonies are often held in the wee hours of the morning. “It becomes a secret the whole village keeps,” explained one farmer.
(left) India: Rajani, age 5. Long after midnight, Rajani is roused from sleep and carried by her uncle to her wedding. Child marriage is illegal in India, so ceremonies are often held in the wee hours of the morning. “It becomes a secret the whole village keeps,” explained one farmer.
India: Rajani, age 5. Rajani and her boy groom barely look at each other as they are married in front of the sacred fire. By tradition, the young bride is expected to live at home until puberty, when a second ceremony transfers her to her husband.
India: Rajani, age 5. Rajani and her boy groom barely look at each other as they are married in front of the sacred fire. By tradition, the young bride is expected to live at home until puberty, when a second ceremony transfers her to her husband.
Ethiopia: Agere, age 32. Agere breastfeeds her twin newborns. Agere was married at age 12 to her husband, who later gave her AIDS. The twins have tested HIV positive. Now abandoned, she does not have enough money to buy them uninfected milk.
Ethiopia: Agere, age 32. Agere breastfeeds her twin newborns. Agere was married at age 12 to her husband, who later gave her AIDS. The twins have tested HIV positive. Now abandoned, she does not have enough money to buy them uninfected milk.
Nepal: Niruta, age 14. A nine-months pregnant Niruta carries grass for her family’s farm animals in Kagati Village, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Niruta moved in with the family of Durga, 17, and became pregnant when they were only engaged.
Nepal: Niruta, age 14. A nine-months pregnant Niruta carries grass for her family’s farm animals in Kagati Village, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Niruta moved in with the family of Durga, 17, and became pregnant when they were only engaged.
Afghanistan: Bibi Aisha, age 19. In a practice known as baad, Bibi Aisha’s father promised her to a Taliban fighter when she was 6 years old as compensation for a killing that a member of her family had committed. She was married at 16 and subjected to constant abuse. At 18, she fled the abuse but was caught by police, jailed and then returned to her family. Her father-in-law, husband and three other family members took her into the mountains, cut off her nose and her ears, and left her to die. “I was a woman exchanged for someone else’s wrongdoing. [My new husband] was looking for an excuse to beat me.”
Afghanistan: Bibi Aisha, age 19. In a practice known as baad, Bibi Aisha’s father promised her to a Taliban fighter when she was 6 years old as compensation for a killing that a member of her family had committed. She was married at 16 and subjected to constant abuse. At 18, she fled the abuse but was caught by police, jailed and then returned to her family. Her father-in-law, husband and three other family members took her into the mountains, cut off her nose and her ears, and left her to die. “I was a woman exchanged for someone else’s wrongdoing. [My new husband] was looking for an excuse to beat me.”
(left) Afghanistan: Roshan, age 8. Female relatives of the bride-to-be, Roshan, prepare food and tea for guests on the day of her engagement to Said, 55, at her home in rural Afghanistan. Upset about the engagement of her daughter, Roshan’s mother exclaimed, “We are selling our daughters because we don’t have enough food to feed the rest of our children!” (center) Yemen: Tehani, age 8. Tehani works in the fields just outside her village in a rural area of Hajjah, Yemen. (right) Nepal: Surita, age 16. Village leader Pudke Shreshta Balami blesses the home of Surita directly following the wedding ceremony in Nepal.
(left) Afghanistan: Roshan, age 8. Female relatives of the bride-to-be, Roshan, prepare food and tea for guests on the day of her engagement to Said, 55, at her home in rural Afghanistan. Upset about the engagement of her daughter, Roshan’s mother exclaimed, “We are selling our daughters because we don’t have enough food to feed the rest of our children!”
(center) Yemen: Tehani, age 8. Tehani works in the fields just outside her village in a rural area of Hajjah, Yemen.
(right) Nepal: Surita, age 16. Village leader Pudke Shreshta Balami blesses the home of Surita directly following the wedding ceremony in Nepal.

Too Young to Wed is part of a transmedia campaign led by VII Photo Agency photographer Stephanie Sinclair, who has documented the global issue of child marriage for nearly a decade. The original photos in the exhibit were taken by Sinclair and Jessica Dimmock. Too Young to Wed is a partnership between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and VII, a premier photo agency known for focusing on social issues and human rights. Sinclair and Dimmock collaborated on the project. Learn more about the project here.

You can read more about child marriage. The Advocates for Human Rights’ Women’s Human Rights Program maintains the Stop Violence Against Women (StopVAW) website, which includes information and resources about child marriage. In December 2013, an organization called Women Living Under Muslim Laws submitted the results of its multi-country study on child and forced marriage to the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights.

How can you use words, images, cartoons, and other media to be an advocate for human rights?

By: Amy Bergquist, staff attorney with the International Justice Program at The Advocates for Human Rights

For more on children’s rights in Ethiopia, read the report by The Advocates for Human Rights and the International Oromo Youth Association to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The Economist Is Just Plain Wrong

An editorial from The Economist, “Prostitution and the internet: More bang for your buck,” contends that the internet offers the solution to the social ills associated with prostitution. Despite the magic of the internet and the appeal of a classic free-market analysis, our work at The Advocates for Human Rights combating sex trafficking has shown that prostitution is not and never will be a normal service industry. The Economist’s analysis purports to show that the Internet allows prostituted women to “behave like freelancers in other labor markets.” According to this reasoning, the unique nature of the digital marketplace is the answer to all of the arguments against legalizing prostitution, allowing “consenting adults who wish to buy and sell sex to do so online.”

The internet’s promise of increased safety quickly vanishes once the “independent businesswoman” is alone in an apartment or hotel room with her “client.” A year ago, the New York Times described the fate of one young woman who sold sex on the internet. She was her own boss. The money was easy, and she did not have to share it with anyone. In 2010, her body was one of four discovered on Gilgo Beach, Long Island, all of them women who had been engaged in online prostitution. Remains of six more bodies were discovered in the area. Of the 10, six were prostituted women. The cases remain unsolved.

Instead of diminishing trafficking, legalizing prostitution in places like Germany and the Netherlands has led to its increase. A 2012 study found that countries with legalized prostitution report more human trafficking from other, usually lower-income, countries. According to a German police official, around 80 percent of sex workers in Germany come from southeast Europe. He said that “90 percent of these women have not freely chosen prostitution; they are subjected to various forms of pressure.” By contrast, criminalizing prostitution in Sweden has resulted in a shrinking prostitution market and a decrease in trafficking from other countries. Most buyers do not know or care whether they are purchasing sex from an independent businesswoman or from someone who is being forced to sell her body. Women in prostitution have to pretend to be happy, whether to please the buyer so he will become a repeat customer or to please her pimp so he doesn’t beat her.

Whatever the platform on which women’s bodies are bought and sold, prostitution perpetuates an extreme form of violence against women. According to one study, the “workplace homicide rate for prostitutes” is 50 times greater than for women who work in a liquor store. It is a job where 60 to 80 percent of “workers” experience regular physical and sexual abuse; 68 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The rate of HIV infection is 14 times higher among prostituted women than other women. The fact is that the vast majority of women who “choose” prostitution do so only because other economic avenues are closed to them. In a society in which women continue to face discrimination, poverty and violence, any opportunity to make money may look like a choice.

Any claimed benefits of moving prostitution off the street are offset by old and new ways of abusing women. The internet will do nothing to stop assault, robbery and rape. In addition, the prostituted woman can’t see who is approaching her like she can on the street. She can’t use her intuition to avoid someone who gives her a bad vibe. She doesn’t know who’s on the other end of a phone call or who’s really soliciting her. The combined effects of the internet and legalization will not make prostitution a meaningful choice for women. It will only lead to greater harm. According to one survivor of prostitution, “legalization will not end abuse; it will make abuse legal.”

Helen Rubenstein is a staff attorney with The Advocates for Human Rights and deputy director of the organization’s Women’s Human Rights Program.

Lessons from Nicaragua

Child from Honduras

This post is part of a series that delves into the plight of the Central American children and families fleeing violence in Central America. The series examines the historical context of the crisis, challenges that refugees face, international human rights obligations, and costs of a response.

Nicaragua is not sending waves of refugees to the United States. Instead, Nicaragua, along with Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize, is receiving waves of refugees coming from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. What’s going on here?

Back in the 1970s, Nicaragua had a revolution. In 1979, the Sandinistas triumphed, elections followed, and the country voted in a leftist, democratic government. Among the first projects of the revolutionary government: a nationwide literacy campaign that enlisted the enthusiasm of young revolutionaries and volunteers to teach children, parents, and grandparents to read and write. The new government also set up free health care and converted many farms seized from the military and the old right-wing regime into cooperatives or state-owned farms.

While the revolution didn’t change everything — Nicaragua is still a very poor country — it succeeded in making government, police and military power more accountable to the people than in neighboring Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. That’s a big reason that Central American refugees flow into Nicaragua (and Costa Rica), rather than in the opposite direction.

While the revolution did not solve all problems, Nicaragua looks distinctly different from its neighbors. Nicaragua Network co-coordinator Katherine Hoyt wrote in August:

“The police and army in Nicaragua formed after 1979 have retained the respect of the people for all those years and always rate highly in opinion polls. They have been able to keep organized crime out while the forces in the other countries have either been overwhelmed by them or joined forces with them. No wonder the three northern countries have some of the world’s highest murder rates and people are fleeing! Nicaraguan programs for youths that keep them in school and out of gangs has also contributed to the low crime rate in that country.”

Nicaragua is far less violent and dangerous than the three countries whose children are fleeing. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports that in 2013, murder rates per 100,000 population were:

Honduras: 90.4
El Salvador: 41.2
Guatemala: 39.9
Nicaragua: 11.3

The high rates of violence, driven by gangs and drug trafficking, drive children and families to flee. Nicaragua’s relatively low crime rates, in contrast to its neighbors, make it a destination for many refugees, despite its poverty and lack of resources to offer them assistance.

The World Bank reports that Nicaragua is poorer than its neighbors. That means Nicaragua has a lower per-person gross national income. However, the gross national income is not the only measure of economic success or failure. Another important measure is the distribution of income. In Nicaragua, the percentage of the population that is poor (42.5%) is smaller than in Honduras (64.5%) or Guatemala (53.7%). El Salvador has a lower poverty rate (34.5%) than its neighbors

Nicaragua’s relative poverty has historic roots. The economic progress of the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution was derailed, beginning in 1981, by the U.S.-sponsored contra war, which lasted for nine years, costing 40,000 lives and undermining the economy with a U.S. economic blockade. The war ended when the U.S.-backed candidate, Violeta Chamorro, was elected president in 1990. Revolutionary leader Daniel Ortega was elected president again in 2006 and 2011, returning the Sandinista party to lead the government.

Nicaragua’s economy is turning around. In 2014, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega was hailed by Forbes Centroamérica as the leader of an ongoing economic miracle. Which is not to say that the economic changes are all positive — Forbes, for example, lauds the increase in foreign investment and the proliferation of WalMart stores. According to the World Bank,

“Defying global economic odds, Nicaragua has remained a bright spot in an otherwise mixed scenario for Central America’s economies. …
“After a quick rebound in 2010, economic activity grew at 5.4% in 2011, the highest rate in a decade. Inflation was also tamed to single digits–around 8% in 2011, down from a high of 25% in mid-2008. The macro economy remains stable, with a GDP forecast growth of 4.2% in 2014, and foreign direct investment and trade show an improved outlook.”

Some 35 years after the Nicaraguan revolution, writes Chuck Kaufman, co-coordinator of the Nicaragua Network/Alliance for Global Justice:

“Nicaragua remains important today and we have to teach the truths that they taught us in the 1980s. …
“We used to say ‘All Nicaragua is a school.’ The composition of refugees crossing our border today demonstrates that that is as true today as it was in the 1980s.”

By guest blogger Mary Turck, a freelance writer and editor, and an adjunct faculty member at Macalester College and Metropolitan State University, teaching occasional journalism and writing courses. She edited the TC Daily Planet, an online daily news publication, from January 2007 to July 2014, and before that, edited the Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG. In earlier years, she worked as a freelance writer and editor, practiced law in Chicago and Minnesota, taught in elementary schools, colleges and prisons, and worked as a community organizer. She is also the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues. She currently lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  Be sure to visit Turck’s blog, News Day.