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Florissant Valley SEED Students Attend Human Rights Conference

October 18, 2013

SEED students - cycle 2012  
SEED Students - Cycle 2012 

STLCC-Florissant Valley’s Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) Deaf students recently attended the 2013 Human Rights Conference at Webster University.

The conference focused on disability in a global context.

Nearly 10 percent of the world’s population has physical or mental impairments, yet discrimination against persons with disabilities is the norm rather than the exception.

Recently, activists hit a milestone when the United Nations adopted a Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The convention, modeled similarly to the Americans with Disabilities Act, set a new standard for legal equality and equality of opportunity worldwide.

The conference enabled the SEED students to explore the current status and conditions of persons with disabilities worldwide, and discuss successes and failures in the struggle to realize the promise of the convention.

There were roundtable discussions, panel discussions and breakout sessions covering topics like employment and disability rights, organization, inclusive education, protection, as well as cultural and global perspectives.
Participants of the conference included Chen Guangcheng, human rights activist; Marca Bristo, president and CEO of Access Living; Sofia Galvan Puente, Mexico & Central America programs director of Disability Rights International; Raul Montoya Santamaria, executive director of Colectivo Chuhcan in Mexico; and Jean-Francois Trani, assistant professor at Washington University and Brown School of Social Work and Honorary Senior Research Fellow.

The DisAbility Project & Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company performed during the last segment of the conference.

Susan McKnight, coordinator of the SEED program at STLCC-Florissant Valley, said one of the highlights was their dance performance.

“Afterwards, Nicolas Trinidad, one of our students from the Dominican Republic, stood and thanked the performers,” she said. “He said if all the billion people in the world reported to have a disability danced at once, they could shake the world.”