We all deserve basic human rights

By Michaela Johnston

Think of this scenario: You’re paired up with a stranger. They speak a different language, look different and have different beliefs. You are asked, without speaking to one another, to find common ground. 

This may be a difficult question at first. Everyone has a unique experience, personality and background. However, no words are necessary to explain that we are all human beings who deserve basic human rights.

The Empowerment League, founded in 1998, embodies the human rights focus area. Volunteers can serve with a variety of community partners, including the International Institute of New England, Massachusetts State Prisons, BEST and CELOP.

This year’s program manager, Charlie Gleeson, is focusing on immigrants/international students learning English and the rights of individuals impacted by the prison system. Let’s learn a little bit more about Charlie!

Major: International Relations with focus on Europe & Development and Public Health Minor
Hometown: South Pasadena, California
Top of Bucket List: Backpack the Silk Road and Siberia

“As a woman of color, navigating my way through the U.S. is inherent to who I am. I’m half Japanese-American and my grandparents were incarcerated during World War II even though they were born in America. They were seen as non-alien enemies. Growing up there was always a narrative of discrimination, that the system is setup to benefit some people over others.”

Charlie is excited to spend her year with the CSC. “It’s a space where people have a heightened sense of awareness. There’s lots of empathy in this space and you can feel that anytime you walk in. We’re all one big support system,” she said. 



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