PRO-TV Staff Attend CTAUN Conference at the UN

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By Chinisha Scott

This past week, thanks to the guidance of DCTV Board Chair, Cora Weiss, Johnny Ramos and I had the pleasure of attending the annual CTAUN conference at the UN, this year focusing on issues addressing the theme "Education is a Human Right." In general, most of the speakers used international examples as case studies during their presentations but it was wonderful to have the opportunity to hear their stories as a youth educator here in the states. Like so many other folks who were in attendance noted, issues regarding young people and education are all the same, here in the US or internationally. Insufficient learning materials, lack of teachers (and low teacher's pay), unequal resources for young people due to lack of funds, all these issues impact student learning and class retention. And these are based on studies on the African continent, South America, and elsewhere. Sound familiar? Highly relatable to our experiences with young people from Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and across the rest of the five boroughs. Something that definitely stuck with me was the emphasis on women and education, closing that education gap, which was best exemplified by this quote (paraphrased): "teach a man, teach an individual; teach a woman, teach a community." The most powerful moment of the day for me was to be highly aware as an educator of my place in society, my "sphere of influence," in the educative experience of the students with whom Johnny and I work. To recognize the role that we play as educators in providing access to information and skills for these young people, and to remember not to take that lightly (not that we ever do).

Moving forward, one of the first proactive steps that I, and any other person concerned about the rights and education of the child, can do is to help support the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an internationally supported treaty that outline some guiding principles, including "non-discrimination; adherence to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and the right to participate. They represent the underlying requirements for any and all rights to be realized," as described by UNICEF on their website. Currently, the US and Somalia are the only two countries that have not signed and ratified the treaty, despite our instrumental role in developing the treaty with the UN in '89. Our CTAUN experience truly inspired both Johnny and me to help spread the word in support of the ratification of the treaty. To learn more and to find ways to support, please visit the UNICEF website.

Thank you Cora for including DCTV in this important event.