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San Diego Youth Group Takes on Gang Violence as a Human Rights Issue

December 21, 2005

Members of the San Diego Chapter of Youth for Human Rights International

Members of the San Diego Chapter of Youth for Human Rights International, sponsored by the Church of Scientology of San Diego, have decided to tackle gang violence through human rights education

San Diego The Department of Justice estimates there are 300,000 gang members, and some six thousand young people in California are hospitalized with violent injuries each year. "Something can be done about this," Veronica Albano, spokesperson for the Church of Scientology of San Diego.

Albano works closely with the San Diego chapter of Youth for Human Rights International, whose mission is "to teach youth around the globe about human rights, thus helping them to become valuable advocates for tolerance and peace."

December marks the 57th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, a ground-breaking document, recognizing "the inherent dignity" and "equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family" as "the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

"In commemoration of Human Rights Day, we decided to apply education to a major human rights abuse facing our young people -- gang violence," said Albano, who makes the point using a 5-minute music video that deals head-on with gang violence and bullying among youths. Called UNITED, this video is a story of children from around the world banding together to defeat bullies in school and playground settings and even extending friendship to a gang leader. "It is a portrayal of what our youth face today and how they can apply Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights--that all people are born free and equal and we should act towards others in a spirit of brotherhood."

Ximena Mora, a 14 year old from Preuss High School in San Diego, was so inspired by UNITED that she decided to conduct a workshop for her fellow students to teach them about human rights and why they must know them demand and defend them.

After watching UNITED, Clando Brownlee, youth director for United Youth Energy (UNERGY) of San Diego, decided to forward the Youth for Human Rights educational campaign to create a better world. "Our goal is to first educate our neighborhoods, our nation, and then our world on the need to bring about real human rights for every man, woman and child," said Brownlee.

Copies of the UNITED music video may be ordered from the web site of Youth for Human Rights International.

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