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Our journey began from observing Interwencja Pasażerska campaign with our own eyes. The campaign invited passengers to take a ride at estimated hours during three days in a row, where volunteers would explain methods of Bystander Intervention or simply - possible ways of behavior when they witness violence in public transport. It was not only useful to see the ways of turning attention to the issues of violence against foreigners in public transport, but also to interact with the outside world. The gains of the campaign include attention and openness to talk from random passengers. One memorable detail is Hanna Arendt’s quote at the tram’s back window: “I was no longer of the opinion that one can simply be a bystander.” 

Quote of Hanna Arendt in the tram by the Passennger's Intervention

These days of tram rides together with the tech workshop from HIA Poland inspired us to make a chatbot for Facebook Messenger, which turned out to be more accessible than we thought. Chatbot we name…
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Wanna Fight Hate Speech? Acknowledge how dangerous it is! by Onur Aksu

Did you know that “the new fascism in Europe is Islamism” or that “recently thousands of Arab men sexually attacked, humiliated and raped hundreds of women”? I don´t think so. I didn´t know either. But according to the vice mayor of Vienna, Johann Gudenus or the right-wing party leader from the Netherlands Geert Wilders this is happening right now. Shocked about the language? I was shocked! However, during my Humanity in Action Fellowship in Warsaw, I found out that those are only two examples of a phenomenon of rising hate speech, xenophobia and populism in Europe. As a German Muslim with a migration background unfortunately I see hate speech as a component of my life that I have to encounter, whether it is in the media or on the Internet. So, for me it was even more interesting to figure out how the situation in Poland would be like and what elements I could use to effectively counteract hate speech. 
"Today immigrants, tomorrow terrorists" at one of anti-refugee demonstrat…

Seeking freedom in Poland by Ewa Rodzik

Do you live in a free country? Do you consider yourself a free person? If we asked these questions three years ago in Poland, a country, which only finally gained freedom in 1989 after devastating years of the Second World War and more than 40 years of fighting against communism, the answer would probably be “yes.” However, since the electoral victory of the right-wing and conservative Law and Justice (PiS) and the following months of rapid legislation changes, massive protests against the restriction of the Polish abortion law, and penalization of blaming Poland for Nazi crimes during the Second World War, the answer is now not as clear as it used to be. Nelson Mandela once said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” We’re free – we can choose where we’ll eat lunch today, whether our house will be wooden or marble, which footballers’ t-shirt our child will bring to the football practice, or whic…

Two cups of coffee and some mandarins… by Rena Pitsaki

The session about the Greek immigration "crises", follows-up with a true moving story between our fellow Rena and Offa, a Syrian artist, who now lives in Greece. 

I was born in Chios on March 16th, 1993. She was born in Aleppo on December 25th, 1984. I was raised in Chora, the center of the island, with the smell of jasmine flavouring my neighbourhood, like allspice does. She was raised in a small, picturesque alley in the center of the town, which accompanies all of her childhood memories in Syria. From a very young age, she remembers herself drawing. She remembers herself observing the world and transferring instinctively whatever she sees, hears, smells, or feels in small sketches. From that age, I discovered a raw need to read about art and the artists who changed our view of the world throughout the centuries. This need became a part of my studies later on. Her strong feel and passion for colouring her figures with oils, carbons, and crayons later became her field of st…

“Why Should I Care?”: 3 Lessons for the Aspiring Social Entrepreneur by Trey Wallace

“Why should I care?” 
“This problem doesn’t affect me.” 
“I already support other causes.” 

Accepting that the causes to which we commit ourselves are not universal passions is tough. Over the past few years as I’ve poured my heart into my work with the Reclaimed Project in Sub Saharan Africa, I’ve had to come to terms with a difficult reality: not everyone cares about the cause as much as I do. Despite how obvious it may seem that humanity should share an obligation toward your particular cause, articulating the value of donating toward your organization to a potential supporter can seem impossible. 
Additionally, the traditional, charity-focused model of human-rights and humanitarian work is becoming increasingly less viable—according to a study done by Texas A&M University, charitable donations have dropped by 10% since the year 2000. Therefore, it is now crucial to consider what supporting your cause reciprocates to your audience. In doing so, a social entrepreneurship model a…

Walking the Line: Activism, Identity, and Division by Kenny Martin

Our sessions today—which concerned abortion rights, disability rights, and the situation of queer people in Poland—made me think most about lines. Whether we admit it or not, we are all always drawing lines, at an interpersonal level and at the level of our activism. We set ourselves apart, stabilize and energize our psyches by drawing personal lines of identity: am I gay or straight, white or black, male or female, Polish or Ukrainian? This process of identity-formation is often vital to our sense of ourselves in the world, and especially to our inspiration as activists. More troublingly, though, we also draw lines around others, often before we hear them speak, before we even know their name. So identity brings us together with others like us, and allows us to forge the solidarity needed to craft social movements. But identity also divides, forces us to emphasize the “other-ness” of others, even and especially others who might become our allies in the fight for social change—others …

Desing Thinking - A toolkit for human rights activists by Larissa Weiss

These are the five steps of the human-focussed design method, called Design Thinking (DT). The diverse tools are applied to effectively address the needs of the people given to their circumstances. During a training session with Martyna Markiewicz, a DT facilitator, we were introduced to a systematic tool that not only gives us the ability to improve our activism in human rights and anti-discrimination work but also enables us to go beyond the multi-layered environments that enforce human rights violations. The method of DT trained us to directly address the certain demand of a specific person or community. According to Alastair Fuad-Luke, DT is involved in so-called ‘design activism’ that he describes as, “design thinking, imagination and practice applied knowingly or unknowingly, to create a counternarrative aimed at generating and balancing positive social, institutional, environmental and/or economic change”. 
As a human rights act…