TEDxFSCJ Salon: What are Human Rights?

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Human rights have been called the dominant moral vocabulary of our time—but how do human rights affect the everyday lives of ordinary people?

Join TEDxFSCJ for What are Human Rights?, a salon featuring speakers with first-hand knowledge of how human rights protect us all. Embracing both the local and global dimensions of human rights, we will address such questions as the inherent and equal dignity of individuals regardless of gender expression, race, and nationality; the unprecedented discrimination and violence facing immigrant populations; and how global warming threatens entire communities with irreversible harm.

Our speakers include:

Drew Adams, a transgender student at Nease High School in St. Johns County, who successfully sued for the right to use the bathroom matching his gender identity; and

Charlene Taylor Hill, who as Executive Director of the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission has seen how the civil rights origins of, and recent changes to, the city’s Human Rights Ordinance have strengthened the protections afforded local residents.

We will hear from experts with a keen understanding of the immigrant experience, including immigration attorney Andrea Reyesand ACLU Regional Organizer Samir Gupte.

And Joshua Gellers, Professor of Political Science at UNF, will help us further explore interconnections between the global and local by discussing how the startling pace of climate change has sparked an environmental rights revolution.

Hosted by UNF Associate Director of Diversity Initiatives, Matt Hartley, and FSCJ student Haley Foley, the event is free and open to the public.

The salon will be held Thursday, February 7th,
at the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts Lakeside Room,
FSCJ South Campus, from 7-8:30 pm.



Drew Adams

Drew is an 18-year-old transgender man and LGBTQ+ advocate. He is an International Baccalaureate student, president of his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance and the 2018 recipient of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Spirit of Matthew Award and the JASMYN Diamond Award. When his school denied him access to the men’s room, Drew sued the district with the help of Lambda Legal; his was the first transgender student bathroom case to go to trial. Drew is a past member of the GLSEN National Student Council and the Trevor Project Youth Ambassador Council. Currently, Drew is the Volunteer Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride and sits on the Q Chat Space Youth Advisory Panel.


Joshua Gellers

Josh is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida, Fulbright Scholar to Sri Lanka and Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Project. His research on environmental rights and sustainable development has been published in Global Environmental Politics, Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, and Transnational Environmental Law. Josh is also the author of The Global Emergence of Constitutional Environmental Rights (Routledge 2017). He holds a B.A. in Political Science, magna cum laude, from the University of Florida, a M.A. in Climate and Society from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from UC Irvine.


Samir Gupte

Samir Gupte serves as the ACLU Regional Organizer for North Florida focusing on voting rights, criminal justice reform, immigration and police practices. After a 26-year corporate career in Operations, HR and General Management, Samir changed career paths to pursue his passion of helping others build better lives for themselves. As the ACLU Regional Organizer, Samir supports this mission through his hands-on volunteer work. In addition to his work at the ACLU, Samir runs a private consulting practice that focuses on organizational problem solving and cultural change. Samir holds a BBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.A. from Rollins College, and an MILR from Cornell University.


Charlene Taylor Hill

Charlene serves as the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. She is responsible for enforcing the city’s anti-discrimination laws governing employment, housing and public accommodations, and for implementing programs that promote respect and mutual understanding of all of Jacksonville’s diverse population. Charlene also meets with delegations visiting the city through the U.S. State Department’s International Visitors Program and shares information on the city’s work on human rights. She has received numerous awards, including the OneJax Institute’s Silver Medallion Humanitarian Award in April 2015. Charlene is a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University and the American Bankers Association’s Graduate School of Banking of the South at Louisiana State University.

Andrea Reyes

Andrea is an immigration attorney in Jacksonville, Florida and recipient of the 2018 Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award. Born in Bogota, Colombia, she immigrated to the U.S. as a child. After graduating from Florida State University in 2006, she attended Florida Coastal School of Law. In 2014, she opened her solo practice focusing on immigration law. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Central Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Andrea prides herself on her commitment to justice for the oppressed and underprivileged. To her, no one is “illegal” just in need of legal guidance through the complex world of U.S. immigration law.



Zach Kindy

Zach is an FSCJ student and a gun violence prevention advocate.  He is the executive director of March For Our Lives Jacksonville and secretary for 96 to None (formerly known as National Die-In). Zach is a survivor of the 2012 Episcopal School of Jacksonville shooting, where he was in seventh grade at the time. His transgender identity plays an important role in his activism. Recently, Zach has branched out into other areas of activism, confronting his lifelong medical issues and helping others do the same.  Currently, he is the program coordinator for the College Democrats of America Disability Caucus.


Matt Hartley

Matt is Associate Director in the Department of Diversity Initiatives at University of North Florida. Current leader of the Interfaith Center, he is also Chair of the Atlantic Institute of Jacksonville, an organization that facilitates Interfaith cooperation. He taught for eight years at Sandalwood High School, where he helped launch the AVID Program that empowers students to achieve their college dreams. He has 12 years of ministry experience with youth and young adults, including a $100,000 grant secured for an Interfaith college leadership program through the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. He earned his B.A. from the University of North Florida and M.A. in Religion from the University of Florida