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Local Journey for Justice group observes Human Rights Day


The California Central Valley Journey for Justice held a Human Rights Day event last weekend titled “Saving Lives in Merced.”

Held in the Gracey Room of the Merced County Library, the event gathered community members who are interested in the theme of social justice in the valley. They were given the opportunity to listen to a number of passionate speakers, and even participate in a prize drawing. Notably, this event marked the 75th anniversary of Human Rights Day.

“Journey for Justice is an advocacy group that works to help all of those who kind of fall through the cracks of the other charities,” said Lee Greenawalt, the group’s acting president. “We say, ‘Journey for Justice of those whose road is rough.’ Human rights are for all people in every location and in every situation. We work wherever we find people, whether it’s the alleys and streets of Merced or the Halls of Congress.”

In the first panel of this event, attendees could listen to the stories and accounts of those who have lost loved ones in tragic circumstances and how they faced the fallout. These speakers included Rosemary Galletti, whose brother was tragically killed in jail, and Christina Valenti Felix of the Robert Rojas Foundation Worldwide.

“My sons’ rights — regarding to his right to life — were violated. That’s why I’m here,” said Christina Valenti Felix. “I’m here to make change because murder is murder. Regardless of if it was a DUI crash, someone being shot, or someone being poisoned, it is murder and those who are responsible need to be held accountable.”

The second panel focused on the many ways that people can face such tragedies as well as resources available to save lives. During this time, attendees were able to hear from Stephanie Hatten of Crime Survivors for Safety & Justice out of Stockton, Merced City Council member Jesse Ornelas, and Efrain Botello-Cisneros, a community outreach specialist from the California Department of Justice.

To conclude the day, attendees were free to network, enjoy the complimentary refreshments, and take a chance to win more prizes.

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