“Human books” tell stories of discrimination: CMHR partnership

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News release details

Personal stories of prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination will be brought to life by "human books" this week, as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) partners with the Winnipeg Public Library and CBC Manitoba in a three‐day event leading up to National Human Library Day on January 26.

In a Human Library, people become the books that are "borrowed" by the public for onsite conversations. All have been personally confronted with discrimination and stereotyping, which denigrate the basic premise of human rights – that everyone is worthy of respect because they are human.

"This event helps the Museum facilitate public dialogue about important human‐rights issues, even though we have no completed venue yet of our own," said CMHR librarian Stephen Carney. "Building linkages to the community and promoting human‐rights education is an important part of our role – and it's something we'll continue after we open in 2014."

The first Human Library was held in 2000 at a Denmark music festival as a way to combat racism and discrimination. It is now emulated around the world, including numerous events across Manitoba organized by schools and community groups. Across Canada, the CBC has helped organize Human Libraries in 15 cities for National Human Library Day on January 26.

This week's event runs today through Saturday at the Millennium Library, 251 Donald Street. CMHR representatives will be on onsite during the Human Library event and welcome the public to the Museum's onsite booth. The list of Human Books and schedule are available at http://wpl.winnipeg.ca/library/humanlibrary.asp.

Complementing the events, cbc.ca/humanlibrary will feature registration information, allow Canadians to check out the Human Library's interactive map, and sample feature "books" from across the country. A live digital event on National Human Library Day will extend the conversation. Canadians are also encouraged to engage in conversations on Twitter by using the hashtag #CBCHumanLibrary.

National Human Library Day is a one‐day event (with Winnipeg hosting a three‐day event) hosted by local libraries and media and cultural centres across the country, in an effort to help dispel myths and stereotypes by creating an opportunity for one‐on‐one conversations between people who may never have met otherwise.

Currently under construction in Winnipeg, the CMHR is the first museum solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights in Canada. It is the first national museum to be established since 1967 and the first outside the National Capital Region.

For more information, please contact:

Maureen Fitzhenry
Media relations manager
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
(204) 289‑2112
Cell: (204) 782‑8442

Find our more at www.museumforhumanrights.ca, follow us on Twitter at cmhr_news or like our Facebook page!

Media contacts

Maureen Fitzhenry