In my lifetime, I have come across Betsy DeVos only in print and on the TV, but I have always been impressed with the way she has divided her time between creating greater levels of success for her own family and the many different communities she has come into contact with over the years. In my opinion Betsy DeVos should be applauded for the many different areas of work she has completed for the people of Michigan and across the U.S.; I initially came across Betsy DeVos when she was looking to bring school choice and school voucher programs to the Florida area where her helped assist in the passage of one of he biggest education reform programs in history.
Millions of people have benefited from the success of Mrs. DeVos in crossing party lines with national and state legislative bodies, which is one of the reasons why I find it so difficult to understand the hysterical reaction of many towards her good works. Betsy DeVos has been an individual I have always looked at for guidance over how best to educate children from socially disadvantaged communities; the fact the majority within minority groups support Mrs. DeVos’ plans with school choice and voucher systems is often ignored in the rush to back an outdated union based education system that still helps create the system our children are educated within. Check this related article from NYPost.com
I consistently feel Mrs. DeVos has the best interests of the community at heart when she sets out on a new cause; Betsy DeVos has impressed me with her decision to use her own funds to support marketing campaigns to make sure the vast majority are made aware of school choice and voucher program deadlines. The political influence of Betsy DeVos is well known and includes the fact she and husband, Dick provided around $5 million to political causes in 2015, a figure I was shocked to discover was dwarfed by the more than $11 million given to charitable causes over the same year.
As major donors to the Republican party in Michigan and beyond the DeVos family have a large sphere of influence on a national level. Betsy DeVos has been shown to keep the majority of her giving in the Michigan area as she looks to aid the West Michigan Aviation Academy she founded with husband Dick, and assist young people through donations to education and faith based groups. I have never felt Betsy is one to work on a small scale and looked to international groups to provide scholarships to aid in providing a business based education for young people looking to take their skills back to developing nations to provide an economic boost to their local economy.
Visit Betsy’s website for more info at betsydevos.com
The concept of human rights can be a little difficult to define. Many people think that they are rights that the government gives to people. But if that definition were correct, there could be no real objection to any governmental policy that persecutes a particular demographic. Human rights are something intrinsic to a human being. In the United States Constitution, it is stated that everybody have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As the President of the Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorrsen fights against human rights violations that are both domestic and abroad. The Human Rights Foundation defends several basic rights across the world.
The Arrest of Kimberly Motley
Kimberly Motley can testify to the corruption of government. She was arrested as a political prisoner without explanation and interrogated for hours. After being released, she then faced mandatory deportation or arrest (lest she refuse to comply). A corrupt government will work to stomp out any powerful voice of criticism or opposition. This is the sort of violation that the Human Rights Foundation works against. Crimes such as this occur all over the world. Whether a journalist, a lawyer, a judge, or anybody who can deter the interests of the government will be targeted.
Violations of Freedom of Speech
The case of Kimberly Motley is very closely related with the issue of freedom of speech. Citizens of the United States enjoy that benefit, and it is almost unthinkable that people would not be able to say what is on their mind. But a tyrannical regime will oppose freedom of speech for several reasons. First, if the people are rationally discussing politics, they could eventually come to conclusions that the government finds unsavory. Second, a voice of dissidence could overthrow government support from the people. Therefore, governments will disallow freedom of speech and persecute any and all offenders. This has happened many times throughout history.
Thor Halvorrsen and the Human Rights Foundation work to defend freedom of speech. They labor to see political prisoners who are arrested for the non-crime of speaking their mind to be released.
The plight of refugees around the world have come into sharp focus with the problems seen with Syrian refugees flooding into the European Union in 2016; Yeonmi Park is a North Korean defector who has been using her own experiences as a refugee to raise awareness of the problems this group faces during and after they leave their home nation. Park is known among many human rights awareness groups for providing details of the problems she faced at the hands of human traffickers and the ongoing problems she continues to face from the leaders of the Communist regime of North Korea.
Yeonmi has revealed her own thoughts on life in North Korea, which she experienced first hand over the course of her childhood and teenage years; Park has a unique life experience that saw her live in the government elite and with the lower classes in North Korean society. Throughout her life Park has seen the many different issues facing people of all classes in North Korea, including the famine problems that almost every person in the closed society face on a daily basis.
A reason.com article discusses the details of Yeonmi Park’s memoir, “In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey To Freedom” released on Amazon, which reveals the intimate and shocking details of her journey as a refugee crossing borders and forced to trust a human trafficking gang. Yeonmi Park kept a number of the details of her journey a secret for a number of years as she was scared of the stigma that was attached to the actions of the human traffickers towards her. Despite the problems she faced on her journey as a refugee Yeonmi Park has also looked to explain on the Reason.com the issues she faces as a refugee who is still targeted by the Communist leadership who have failed in their attempts to discredit Park and her very personal refugee story.
North Korea is an infamous country known for their oppressive dictatorship, heavily censored media, and abusive nature toward its own citizens. There are very few happy endings for citizens born into the country and those that are happy involve harrowing escapes toward Chinese borders where they can then find somewhere safer to call home. Yeonmi Park is one of the ‘happier’ endings but we won’t say that she’s had it easy. Instead, the 27 year old North Korean woman has become something of a spokesperson for all of the terror and danger that is so rife within her home country. Going viral on YouTube after speaking at a public event, Park is quickly becoming something of spokesperson against North Korea and it has gathered her former countries attention.
Park was born and raised in North Korea and over the span of her years she got to know a country that was deeply troubled. Growing up she was warned by her family that she was not to speak loudly or even whisper her discontent. The country was rife with paranoia and anyone who dared to speak out against the regime was immediately to be silenced, often with deadly results. The country wasn’t always this bad, Park would admit, but things had changed. After some economic turns, North Korea found themselves terribly poverty stricken and soon faced with mounting issues such as famine and increasingly abusive government officials.
During her speech she mentioned how she was forced to watch a friends mother be executed for making minor mistakes. Bodies would soon pile up on the street corners. In 2007 things got too bad. Park saw her father arrested and forced into a labor camp when he was found to be smuggling and selling metal to Chinese buyers. Yeonmi and her mother knew that time was short in their country if they wanted to survive and so they would have to get out while they could. The pair ended up getting smuggled into China by a trafficker. Once in China the trafficker sold the pair into slavery, but only after sexually assaulting and raping Yeonmi’s mother. Still, the two women kept strong and stayed together even when Yeonmi was sold as a child mistress for a rich man.
After two years of struggling through human trafficking, Yeonmi and her mother managed to escape via an ‘Underground Railroad’ across the Gobi Desert. They had to hike in negative 40′ weather for miles and miles in order to eventually get to safety. Yeonmi and her mother eventually found their way to America and it is there that they’ve begun to turn into the human rights activists that they are now becoming known as. The job they are doing is an important one but it is also a dangerous one. North Korea has already released slanderous videos against Park and there is precedent for them to engage in violent action. Yeonmi still hasn’t backed down, however, and she continues to work toward a better future for her people.