We prepared this report for our April 2020 annual luncheon but alas, due to COVID-19, our last public event was in March. We continue to be active, but that’s another article.
The highlights below reflect the issues we addressed over the during 2019-2020 at general meetings, primarily at the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee (UNA-GM) monthly forums on global issues. These meetings also promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations for achieving peace, human rights, and social and economic justice.
Our chapter educates on these goals but we’re not the only ones in Milwaukee. Several local agencies and organizations that serve the community are also taking action on the SDGs. The UNA-GM is reaching out to them as partners, as you’ll see below.
We also don’t stay in our region of southeastern Wisconsin. UNA-GM members participate in regional, national and international meetings of the United Nations Association. During the year we contacted members of Congress – in Washington and in district -- and local elected officials about global issues, often with a local angle.
Chapter meetings were usually on the second Saturday morning in Redeemer Lutheran Church, at 19th and Wisconsin Ave., but check our website for updates. When in-person forums resume, note that we welcome non-members!
Representatives of the Rohingya American Society in Milwaukee spoke about the violence against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.
A physician active in global health advocacy presented on "Eradicating Global Respiratory Diseases."
We celebrated International Women's Day with a focus on the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and other global women's issues
Chapter members who participated in an MATC study tour to Ghana discussed the trip.
Exiles from western Cameroon shared the distressing experiences of their families and friends suffering the burning down of their villages and killings by Cameroon government forces.
Also in April, the United Nations Schools of International Learning (UNSIL) program held it's World Fair at the UWM Panther Arena. It is a groundbreaking effort by the Milwaukee Public Schools, initiated with grants from a UNA-GM Chapter member and assisted by a board member. Some 2000 students in 4th through 8th grades participate in a year-long curriculum that prepares them for being global citizens. These students demonstrate their work at the World Fair with displays and presentations about the countries and issues they studied.
We held the 4th Annual UNA-GM Luncheon with a national speaker on "What has the United Nations Done For Me Lately?" We presented Global Citizen Awards to Will Allen, Phil Blank and Joan Bleidorn, and the Global Educator Award to Janet Nortrom.
We sent delegates to the national United Nations Association-USA summit in Washington, DC, and they reported back on the work of the United Nations, the hot issues being addressed by UNA-USA and its chapters, and visits to congressional offices on Capitol Hill.
An expert board member gave a presentation on "The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change, Climate Justice, and the Global Climate Strike." Another member shared research on "Working with Sickle Cell Disease." A representative of the ONE Campaign called for support in getting Congress to provide money for the Global Fund.
Our annual joint program on United Nations Day featured the theme "Spotlight on United Nations Women" for the 2019 event. Students in the Model United Nations Program at Whitefish Bay High School presented their video interview with Joan Robertson, who initiated the Whitefish Bay UN Day Celebration 13 years ago.
Members and other volunteers staffed the UNA-GM booth at the Holiday Folk Fair for three days. The booth displayed information on the UN as well as providing interactive activities for children and adults.
Also, our chapter joined with the local Veterans for Peace to celebrate Armistice Day on November 11. Speakers discussed Nuclear Disarmament and Veterans’ Health Care. UNA-GM was one of the co-sponsors of the event.
The 2019 Greater Milwaukee Celebration of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights took place on Saturday, December 14. The theme was "Basic Human Rights: Global and Local" with presentations by many community groups. The Celebration was a collaborative effort of the City of Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission, Milwaukee County Human Rights Commission, and UNA-GM.
An organizer from Wisconsin Citizen Action spoke on "Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege?”
This forum had two parts: the UNA chapter's Annual Meeting with the election of Board Members and Officers; plus, with the presidential primaries in high gear, we included other peace groups in a unique PowerPoint presentation on the Democratic and Republican candidates’ positions on war and peace issues.
"Women Speaking out Against Oppression" was the focus of the International Women's Day Celebration at the March 14 Chapter meeting, with help from other groups. Presentations included the campaign to pass the UN Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a Milwaukee City ordinance, the problem of women in prison accessing good medical care, and women's struggles for reproductive rights in Wisconsin.