Indiana State University Newsroom

Annual Human Rights Day scheduled for March 7

February 27, 2017

Indiana State University will host the 16th Annual Terre Haute Human Rights Day on Tuesday, March 7 at Hulman Memorial Student Union.

This year, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Attorney Advisor Merilyn D. Brown will be featured as the keynote speaker. During her address, Brown will discuss housing discrimination among other issues.

As Attorney Advisor in the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Brown was nominated three times as "Outstanding Federal Employee," and received the Jonathan Corner Service Award in 2014 by the Indiana Consortium of State and Local Human Rights Agencies for her expertise in fair housing and providing training and support to the state's agencies in the field of civil and human rights.

Brown is the former director of the Fair Housing Enforcement Division, Office of Investigations in Washington, D.C. She is an adjunct professor of The John Marshall Law School. She received the John Marshall Law School Alumni Distinguished Service Award recognizing her achievements in the practice of law and the significant contributions she has made to her community.

Following Brown's keynote address, three sessions of workshops have been scheduled in various locations within Hulman Memorial Student Union (HMSU), beginning with five workshops at 11 a.m.

Attorney Kristin Fleschner, Foreign Affairs Officer at the United States Department of State, will present "Americans with Disabilities: A personal story," in Dede II. Fleschner will share her personal story as a blind individual and how her disability impacted her experience at law school and now in the working world and life. Her message is that people with disabilities can do everything that a non-disabled person does."We just approach tasks and life a bit differently," she said.

Indiana State University Professor Dr. Georgianna Duarte will also present "Stop Child Trafficking" at 11 a.m. in HMSU, Dede I. Duarte is an early childhood professor and chair of the department of teaching and learning in the Bayh College of Education. While living near the United States-Mexico border, she volunteered for the Young Center of Immigrant Children's Rights.

Other speaking engagements at 11 a.m. include "Human Rights in Honduras," by Chicago-based 8th Day Center for Justice representatives Liz Deligio and Sister Kathleen Desautels (Dede III); "International Women's Day," by ISU Professor Dr. Lori Henson (HMSU, Room 307); and "Social Justice Studies at Indiana State University," by ISU Professor Dr. Ralph Leck (HMSU, Room 321).

The sessions starting at 12:40 p.m. will be highlighted by the presentation "Pictorial Documentary of the Dakota Pipeline," by Colombian and American photographer Alexandra McNichols-Torroledo, in the Sycamore Banquet Center. McNichols-Torroledo specializes in issues of land exploitation affecting indigenous people in North and South America. In the late fall of 2016, she traveled to pipeline site to document the raising concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council.

McNichols-Torroledo will also offer her session at 2 p.m., again in the Sycamore Banquet Center.Other sessions include, humanitarian and Help4Refugees founder Jordan Hattar will offer "Voices of Syria," in Dede I. Using his own story, Hattar hopes to encourage and inspire students to discover what they are passionate about, while finding out where their greatest passion meets the world's greatest need.

Other sessions speaking engagements starting at 12:40 p.m. include "Verbing Ally: What does it Mean to be an Aspiring Ally to the LGBTQIA Community," by Indiana Youth Group Director of Programs and Training Myranda Warden (Dede II); "Human Rights Post Election" by Amnesty International Senior Field Organizer Ernest Coverson (Dede III); "The Dangers of Sexting," by Terre Haute Police Department Officer Ryan Adamson (HMSU Room 307); and "Keep It Real RX" a game which provides a safe space for people to explore and share memories out loud (HMSU, Room 321).

The sessions at 2 p.m. will be highlighted by the presentation "President Donald J. Trump, the Emoluments Clause and other lawsuits," offered by Wagner Crawford & Gambill Law Offices Attorney Chris Gambill. During the segment, Gambill will discuss the Emoluments Clause, as well as current lawsuits and their implications against President Trump. Gambill is a native of Terre Haute and has practiced law at Wagner Crawford & Gambill since 1987.

In addition, Indiana Chapter of Unite Here Local 23 President Stuart Mora will offer "Organizing and Winning: Building a 21st Century Union," in Dede II, also at 2 p.m. Mora got involved with the union when he was 23 years old, working in food service in Indianapolis.

Other speaking engagements starting at 2 p.m. include "Human Rights in Honduras," by Chicago-based 8th Day Center for Justice representatives Liz Deligio and Sister Kathleen Desautels (Dede III); and "Myths and facts about Raising the Minimum Wage," by Forward Together Terre Haute organization member and Sister of Providence Sister Rosemary Schmalz (HMSU, Room 307).







Media Contact: Jessica Starr, Center for Commuity Engagement,

Photo: Merilyn Brown,

Photo: Alexandra McNichols-Torroledo, 

Photo: Chris Gambill,