No Human Rights Forum in 2020

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Even before this pandemic arrived, Augsburg had made the decision, based on budgetary concerns, not to hold the Human Rights Forum this fall. This health crisis has only reinforced the wisdom of that decision, as we focus now on the transitions to online teaching and work and plan for the post-COVID environment.

Given the disruptions, loss, and inequities we are experiencing as a result of this public health crisis, there is a clear need to build community and strengthen our social fabric. We look forward to seeing how we can together be part of efforts to strengthen these resources and institutions. In relation to our collective commitment to human rights and justice, working towards equal access to quality healthcare will be a high priority coming out of this crisis. We will need to ensure that we are much better prepared when future crises emerge.

We also see the importance of a free press and free expression. It is citizens and journalists who have pushed our own leaders to action when, for political self-interest, they preferred to downplay the challenge that COVID posed. Internationally, it was the suppression of journalists and whistleblowers that allowed the crisis to fester in the first place. The huge economic, social, and humanitarian impacts of this outbreak speak to the need for building up our resilience and working together to address these and many other human rights challenges locally, nationally and globally.

We will be back in touch in the coming months with more information about our plans for 2021, when we all hope to have emerged from this ordeal with a greater sense of public purpose and commitment to care and support each other.

Be well and take care,

Bettine and Joe

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