A Global Challenge

By Giving List Staff   |   January 1, 2021

It has always been important to recognize that injustice and discrimination occurs in the United States and not only in far off lands. 

Over the past decade, Human Rights Watch – among the world’s leading human rights organizations – has poured its experience, energy, and incredible potency into combating domestic threats to the rights of everyone in the United States.

Whether working to ban child marriage in Florida, helping to ensure that juveniles can’t get sentenced to life without parole, or stopping traumatic family separations at the southern border, Human Rights Watch is there – advocating for good, and making positive change.

Across the globe, Human Rights Watch’s roughly 450 researchers, lawyers, journalists, and advocates relentlessly defend human rights. They do this by rigorously investigating abuses, exposing their findings through unparalleled media attention, and then driving change by advocating to governments and organizations – dismantling systems of oppression and uplifting entire populations.

HRW’s impact is immense. The organization won a Nobel Peace Prize for its work with partner organizations to ban landmines, establish the International Criminal Court to bring the world’s worst warlords to justice, and elevate global standards to improve the lives of women, children, and the vulnerable around the world.

At a time when the challenges facing our community and our world can feel overwhelming, we need an organization ready and able to face them head on. We need Human Rights Watch.

“At this inflection point in human history, we have an extraordinary window of opportunity to make bold, transformational change,” says Lis Leader, the Director of Human Rights Watch Santa Barbara.

As a filmmaker who travelled the world producing documentaries for National Geographic, PBS, and the BBC, Leader witnessed “some unbearably heartbreaking visions of human suffering.” So when local writer, philanthropist, and activist Vicki Riskin suggested she lead HRW’s recently established committee in 2014, Leader didn’t hesitate.

For Leader, the connection between an HRW researcher working to end child marriage in Yemen, and the needs of Santa Barbara’s most vulnerable are all the same.

“Although we are a global organization, we make positive change on a community level,” Leader says. HRW Santa Barbara regularly hosts civic dialogues with key figures from its deep bench of programmatic staff who bring global and domestic issues home to the Central Coast.

The organization is now engaged in a “global challenge” meant to create “the future we want,” HRW proclaims. Leader and the Santa Barbara Committee invite you to stand with HRW as it faces some of the most dire threats to humanity here and abroad.


Human Rights Watch


Human Rights Watch established a presence in Southern California more than two decades ago, convinced that the unique population, influence and resources of the region could be mobilized to defend human rights around the world. In Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, a vibrant community of supporters are engaged in raising awareness of human rights abuses, building financial support for Human Rights Watch, and strengthening HRW’s local research and advocacy.

Begin to Build a Relationship

We know you care about where your money goes and how it is used. Connect with this organization’s leadership in order to begin to build this important relationship. Your email will be sent directly to this organization’s director of development and/or Executive Director.

To build a secure future as a global community, we must fight for human rights and dignity of all. Our strength comes from a shared sense of purpose, values, and caring and the creation of a deeply satisfying life mission.”
– Victoria Riskin

Giving For Today and Tomorrow

Human Rights Day Gift – Every December 10, the world celebrates International Human Rights Day to commemorate the day in 1948 when the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That document clearly delineates “the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”
HRW Santa Barbara asks that you consider making a first time or return gift in honor of this important day in history.
Legacy Gifts – “Human Rights Watch is not just protecting your human rights. It’s protecting your sons’ and daughters’ human rights, and your grandsons’ and granddaughters’ human rights,” says Lis Leader, Director of Human Rights Watch Santa Barbara.
Because of this lasting impact, HRW Santa Barbara is asking that future-minded donors consider a legacy gift to the organization that ensures your mark on human rights can last for generations.

Steering Committee

Gwyn Lurie Co-Chair
Wendy Read Co-Chair
John Steed Co-Vice Chair
Benjamin J. Cohen
Christine Fletcher
William Fletcher
Cheryl D. Justice
Donna-Christine McGuire
Rassa Montaser
David W. Rintels
Vicki Riskin Co-Chair Emerita
Honorable Susan Rose
Fiona Stone Co-Chair Emerita
D. William Wagner
Sue Aldrich Wagner
Susan Washing
Santa Barbara Council
Bruce Anticouni
Judy Anticouni
Richard Appelbaum
Marc Appleton
Evan Aptaker
Pat Aptaker
Laurie Ashton
Roman Baratiak
Pascale Beale
Gary Becker
Mary Becker
Arnold Bellowe
Jill Bellowe
Ashish Bhutani
Leslie Bhutani
Nancy Brown
Vivian Browne
Lalla Brutoco
Rinaldo Brutoco
Judy Bruton
Laura Capps
Kim Citro
John Mike Cohen
Marcia Cohen
Barbara Delaune Warren
Leslie Dennis Tolan
Monie De Witt
Kathryn Downing
Judy Egenolf
Rob Egenolf
Nancy Englander
Larry Feinberg
Bill Felstiner
Elisabeth Fowler
Carole Fox
Ron Fox
Martha Gabbert
Pamela B. Gann
Diane Giles
Mike Giles
Daniel Goldstein
Kathie Gordon
Mike Gordon
Kerrilee Gore
Martin Gore
Tipper Gore
Ken Grand
David W. Hardee
Judith L. Hopkinson
Mer James
Luci Janssen
Richard Janssen
Sharyn Johnson
Junemarie Justus
Tom Justus
Mitch Kauffman
Rebecca Kaye
Barry Kemp
Margaret Kemp
Elaine Kendall
Herbert Kendall
Tom Kenny
Joanna Kerns
Dorothy Largay
Kathleen Lavidge
Vivienne Leebosh
Dr. Mark Leffert
Dr. Nancy Leffert
Nancy Lessner
Peter Lewis
Gretchen Lieff
Robert Lieff
Leatrice Luria
Elliott MacDougal
Naila Mathis
Brett Matthews
Alecia Mayrock
Elliot Mayrock
Sara Miller McCune
Michael McGuire
Michelle McIntosh
David McKeever
Ed McKinley
Pamela McLean
Susan McMillan
Sherry Melchiorre, Ph.D.
Graciela Montgomery
Joanne Moran
Rita Moya
Steve Moya
Betsy Newman
Charles Newman
Adrienne O’Donnell
Jane Olson
Thomas R. Parker
Lynn Pearl
Melvin Pearl
Tom Piozet
Maxine Prisyon
Ron Pulice
Stacy Pulice
Diana Raab
Simon Raab
James Read
Justine Roddick
Regina Roney
Rick Roney
Sybil Rosen
Ginger Salazar
Heather Salzman
Jim Salzman
Lynn Sarko
Tina Schlieske
Lynn Shafer
Starr Siegele
Connie J. Smith
Fredric E. Steck
Suzanne Steed
Ralph Thomas
Milton Warshaw
Susan Washing
Taylor Washing
Tom Washing
Judi Weisbart
Dan Williams