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Together, we can create a better world: Speaking out against injustice

The world is in recovery. We are reckoning with devastating effects of the pandemic on societies, such as more deeply rooted inequalities and social divides. Governments are focused on returning to normalcy, yet the human rights of many continue to fall through the cracks. In these times, there is greater urgency for communities pushed to the margins to voice when their rights are being violated, and for those in positions of power to listen.

The path forward to rights-respecting communities is to open spaces for dialogue, and human rights education is the key to do that. Equitas’ human rights programs support individuals and organizations to address injustices.

Meet two Equitas partners working towards gender and racial justice in their communities in Canada and in Senegal.

Lavern Kelly is a case manager at Watari Counselling and Support Services, a community organization for youth in Vancouver. Equitas works in 64 communities across Canada, and this is just one of many inspiring examples. Lavern supports pregnant and parenting youth by helping them access and keep safe housing. The housing crisis impacting all Canadians is even harder for people of colour and young parents, like the youth Lavern supports. Lavern works closely with them to address barriers to housing by ensuring that they know their rights and worth, building a strong sense of community and belonging, as their experiences often reinforce the opposite. After all, the right to adequate housing is so much more than just having a roof over one’s head — it is also the right to live in safety and dignity.


“Thank you Equitas for the training and believing in me. Being a partner with you has definitely increased my self confidence all around, in my personal and professional life.”

― Lavern Kelly, Case manager at Watari Counselling and Support Services

Lavern says that sharing what she has learned from Equitas about human rights fuels her. She helped youth advocate for their rights in an Equitas-supported project in which they wrote a letter to local government and media, sharing their personal experiences of inequality and housing discrimination. They shed light on racial discrimination they face as Indigenous youth or people of colour, hoping their voices would be heard, and called for more education on their rights as marginalized communities. Thanks to human rights coaching and training from Equitas, as well as tools and strategies, Lavern was empowered to create space for the youth to identify the barriers they face, leading them to feel confident to advocate for their rights.

A similar story of an Equitas partner using the skills developed through Equitas training and coaching at the service of their community is that of Khady Sow Diop, a human rights educator, President of the Communications Commission of Réseau Sénégal pour l’Éducation aux Droits Humains (RESEDHU) and former Vice-President of La Palabre, an organization that fights for the rights of vulnerable populations in Thiès, Senegal. The inaction of government in response to the high rate of femicide in Senegal recently inspired Khady to mobilize women’s organizations who were also trained by Equitas to take action. Equitas’ human rights advocacy training helped them coordinate a public statement and press conference, and to secure commitments from local authorities, including police and religious leaders, to join them in their fight to prevent the killing of women.

We want and have the right to live in safe spaces.” –  Women’s organizations in Thies, Senegal

When those responsible fail to act, the ability of individuals to understand and advocate for their rights is crucial. Human rights education is an effective tool for empowering people to demand justice.

Equitas is proud to work with agents of change such as Lavern and Khady who are dedicated to making their communities safe, inclusive, and rights-respecting. Our work goes beyond just training and practical support – it is also human connection and solidarity that drives Equitas’ mission. Lavern and Khady demonstrate how human rights education produces a ripple effect of change, as others are encouraged to not be bystanders in their communities but to take action.

“The learning has strengthened my knowledge, skills, and behaviors around human rights issues. This empowerment started with me and extended to my community and my country.”

– Khady Sow Diop, President of the Communications Commission of Réseau Sénégal pour l’Éducation aux Droits Humains (RESEDHU)


Equitas and our partners across Canada and the world have the potential to create even more change towards gender and racial justice. However, we rely on support to continue implementing and growing our human rights education programs. The world is continuously transformed for the better by social movements and collective action and you can play a part.

You can also act to help create a better world.

A donation to Equitas is a contribution to fighting against injustice while strengthening the capacity of individuals and organizations to defend their rights and those of others.