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Young Chicagoan Represents The United States At Human Rights Defenders World Summit

11/14/2018, noon | Updated on 11/14/2018, noon
A young activist, Eva Lewis, who grew up on the south side of Chicago recently traveled to Paris to participate ...
Eva Lewis (pictured), founder of the I Project, was invited to participate in the Americas panel at the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018 where she discussed human rights in the U.S. and specifically the human rights of black and brown people in the country. Photo Credit: Provided by Eva Lewis

Young Chicagoan Represents The United States At Human Rights Defenders World Summit

BY KATHERINE NEWMAN

A young activist, Eva Lewis, who grew up on the south side of Chicago recently traveled to Paris to participate in the Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018. Lewis spoke on the Americas panel, alongside activists from Latin America, and discussed youth-led movements in the United States as well as the state of black and brown people in the country.

The Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018 was organized by eight international human rights organizations and was attended by several highly recognized international leaders, including officials from the United Nations.

“What the Summit aims to do is bring together representatives from each country to talk about the state of human rights defenders and to brainstorm ways that we can elevate our fight for human rights and create a direct action plan that can be implemented to protect human rights defenders internationally,” said Lewis.

Lewis was one representative in a diverse group of 150 human rights defenders from around the world that came to Paris for the three-day Summit. She participated in meetings, panel discussions, networking activities, and workshops that all revolved around protecting human rights across the globe.

“I was on the Americas panel and I was the only US representative and also the youngest delegate at the Summit and I was the only English speaker on my panel. Everyone on the panel talked about their own fight for human rights and how it pertains to their country and the people that they were there to represent,” said Lewis.

During the Americas panel, Lewis not only spoke about human rights in the United States, but she also chose to specifically address the human rights of black and brown people in the country she was there to represent.

“I set my self up to fulfill a specific agenda which was to bring human rights of black and brown folks in the U.S. to an international platform because we don’t talk about human rights violations against black and brown people in the US as a human rights issue. This was the first time anyone had that conversation at the Summit and I was happy to be able to be the one to present that conversation.”

Nineteen-year-old Lewis is an award-winning student, activist, and artist. She is also known for founding. The I Project, a non-profit organization aiming to create equitable communities in Chicago.

“I really liked hearing about how people structure their organizations so what I think I gained the most from the Summit is good information about how to make the infrastructure of my own organization more sustainable. The I Project is relatively new and we’ve only had a fiscal sponsorship for about a year and we are not sustainable at all and I’m comfortable admitting that because the journey is important and part of the process,” said Lewis.