Responses to Racism and Inequality in America (Global Engagement Online Series)

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07:00 pm


Online Web Event, 7pm ET



Today, as the U.S. works towards the targets outlined in the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), thousands of peaceful protesters in all 50 states have been speaking out against racism and inequality in America. With the senseless murder of George Floyd, the abhorrent and irrefutable inequality of Black Americans has provoked Americans of every ethnicity to confront the fact that the U.S. is currently falling drastically short of achieving SDG 10: reduced inequalities.

Join this session to learn how activists and UN leaders are helping to help promote and defend human rights and work towards reduced inequalities. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of how the UN and UNA-USA can make a difference in combatting racism. At the end, we will answer the question: What actions will YOU personally commit to taking to ensure #BlackLivesMatter?

Featured Speakers:

Nikki Patin, Writer and Poet

Featured in The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and on international television and radio, writer, producer, designer and survivor Nikki Patin has been advocating, performing and educating for almost 20 years. She has performed at the National Black Theater in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, Links Hall, Black Artists Retreat, EXPO Chicago and many other spaces throughout the U.S., New Zealand and Australia. In 2014, she made history when she addressed the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on behalf of Black women survivors of sexual violence in the U.S. Nikki Patin holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, is a recipient of a 3Arts Make A Wave award in music and was recently named one of “30 Writers to Watch” by the Guild Literary Complex. Patin is the Community Engagement Director for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation and the founder and Executive Producer of Surviving the Mic, a survivor-led organization that crafts brave and affirming space for survivors of trauma. She lives with her 6 year old son, Tobias, on the south side of Chicago. Her work can be found at


Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Special Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo for Policy and Community Affairs

Ruth Hassell-Thompson is a Special Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo for Policy and Community Affairs, for New York State Housing and Community Renewal. She was first elected to the New York State Senate in 2000, where she brought years of public service and community involvement to her post as the Senator of the 36th Senatorial District; representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester Counties.

During her tenure in the Senate, Ms. Hassell-Thompson served on the following standing committees: Judiciary (Ranking); Crime Victims, Crime & Correction (Ranking); Commerce, Economic Development & Small Business; Alcohol and Substance Abuse; Health; Finance; Rules; Chairwoman, Conference of Black Senators; Chairwoman, Taskforce on Domestic Violence; Governor Cuomo Taskforce on MWBE.

Prior to serving as an elected official Ms. Hassell-Thompson was President/CEO of WHART Development Company and consulted on the planning and creation of several housing projects throughout Westchester and Bronx Counties.

Currently in her new role, Ms. Hassell-Thompson serves on Governor Cuomo’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, which has been tasked with addressing the housing needs of vulnerable population: seniors, veterans, re-entry, domestic violence, homeless and runaway youth. Ms. Hassell-Thompson sits on the homeless and runaway youth and re-entry sub-committee, due to her knowledge and expertise.

Ms. Hassell-Thompson is the recipient of three Honorary Doctorate degrees: Mercy College, Doctor of Humane Letters; the Eastern Theological Consortium, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Christ Theological Seminary, Doctor of Humanities; and the College of New Rochelle, Doctorate of Humane Letters. She is an alumna of Bronx Community College. She is also a member of the UNA Southern New York State Division Board.

Ms. Hassell-Thompson is the proud mother of two daughters and the doting grandmother of two grandchildren.


Garvin Ambrose, Chief of the Bureau of Administrative Services at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office

Garvin Ambrose is the Chief of the Bureau of Administrative Services at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. In this role he leads over 360 union and non-union administrative professionals in operating the second largest unified Prosecutor’s office in the country. Prior to this role, Ambrose served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County from 2005 to 2013, and then as Chief of Staff to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez from 2014 to 2016. Ambrose was previously appointed by Governor Dannel Malloy to be the State Victim Advocate in Connecticut. In that role he advocated for, was instrumental in the creation of, and served as Chairman of Connecticut’s first Victims’ Rights Enforcement Advisory Commission. He was nominated for the 2014 Connecticut Law Tribune’s “New Leaders in the Law” award, and in 2013 received an award from the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence as one of the “First 100 Men” who are dedicated to working against domestic violence.

Ambrose is an active member and mentor of the 100 Black Men of Chicago youth mentoring organization, where he also serves on the Bylaws committee. He is an advisory board member of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and a member of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Programs Committee of ChildServ, which aims to protect, heal and educate children and families so they can build better lives. In 2016, he was selected as a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Ambrose earned his BS in Criminal Justice from Southeast Missouri State University in 2001 and his JD from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2005.


London J. Bell, J.D., LL.M., International Human Rights Law and Policy Advocate

London J. Bell is a native Detroiter, a lawyer, community organizer, activist, and humanitarian with specific educational training in international human rights law and policy and international business and trade law.  London has focused her career advocating for policy changes on behalf of diverse communities. She is the Founder and President of Bell Global Justice Institute, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Detroit focused on advancing and promoting the human rights of women and girls.

London is a member of the United Nations Association of the United States (UNA-USA) and serves as a 2018-2020 UNA-USA National Council Member (Great Lakes Region). In addition, London serves as the 2018-2020 National Chair for UNA Women, an affinity group for UNA-USA. London has served as a UNA-USA NGO Delegate for the 62nd and 63rd Sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York in 2018 and 2019.

In 2019, London was selected for and proudly participated in the FBI Detroit Citizens Academy Program and became a member of its Alumni Association. During this six week program, London joined an esteemed group of fellow Detroit area community and business leaders to hear from Special Agents of the FBI Detroit office on the history of the bureau, and areas of their work. London participated in this incredible program to be part of its community building work.

London is very passionate about advocating for the human rights of women and girls, and the LGBTI community. In addition to advocating for policy changes to advance and promote human rights, she also works within local Detroit area communities to increase the knowledge and fluency of the United Nations. London is passionate about building awareness around the international mechanisms local citizens can use to advance grassroots movements.

London earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She went on to earn her Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois. She also earned her Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Law at DePaul University College of Law.  She focused her Master of Law studies in International Human Rights Law & Policy & Criminal Justice.

As a DePaul International Human Rights Law Institute Practicum Student, she researched and analyzed jurisprudence from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). She also travelled to Lima, Peru in January 2014 to meet with local Peruvian organizations and to gather information about trafficking in persons in Peru. She along with seven of her classmates and law professor co-authored an Alternative Report (Shadow Report) regarding human trafficking of women and girls in Peru. The report was submitted on June 18, 2014 to the United Nations CEDAW Committee for its 58th Session. The purpose of their report was to educate the Committee on whether Peru’s domestic laws and policies were effective in combating the trafficking of women and girls in the Madre de Dios and Loretto regions along the Amazon.