Gareth Henry: A Champion For Gay Rights

Gareth Henry was born in St. Mary’s, Jamaica on October 20, 1977 to his absent father and his mother who was a teenager at the time. Unlike his sister, the majority of his time was with his grandmother and aunt. From the age of 10 onwards, he knew that he was gay but due to rampant homophobia a gay man experienced, Henry did not feel comfortable coming out to anyone. After moving to live with an uncle before his 16th birthday however, he grew unapologetic about his sexuality.

Once he graduated from Titchfield High School in Port Antonio, Gareth Henry relocated to Kingston where he studied at Excelsior Community College and the University of West Indies and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in social work and a master’s degree in Communications for Social and Behavior Change. He is also a professional badminton player.

Gareth volunteered for Jamaica Aids Support for life in 1997 and the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-asexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) in 1998. Following the murder of the spokesperson for J-FLAG in 2004, however, many were terrified of replacing him until Gareth Henry agreed to step up. It took a dangerous turn as 13 of his friends were murdered and he began to receive violent threats. Due to this predicament, he fled to Toronto for his safety and his family followed him.

From helping relocate LGBTQ refugees to championing gay rights, Gareth Henry helps LGBTQ individuals around the world feel safer, pushing for people of color to fight discrimination and hatred.

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Autism Rocks Fest Including Performances by Flo Rida and Tyga

Sanjay Shah’s Autism Rocks has taken off since its beginning in 2014. The concert event that supports Autism research will have Flo Rida and Tyga performing this year April 1 in Dubai. Proceeds go to Autism Research Trust which funds research by the Autism Research Centre. The concert will take place at a new venue on the Dubai Outlet Mall grounds dubbed The Autism Rocks Arena. Taking place during Autism Awareness Month, there will also be family activities such as face painting, a petting zoo, laser tag and a zip line among other activities. The cost is only 50 AED.
Autism Rocks was started by Sanjay Shah and was a premier invite only event with entrepreneurs who could donate thousands to the concert. This year is a little different, since it will be open to people of all financial backgrounds. Sanjay ( first got the idea for the charity after an unexpected visit from none other than Snoop Dog. The visit inspired him to get back into the music scene he was a part of in college. He used to set up and market gigs. This time he wanted proceeds to go to autism research ever since his son Nikhil was diagnosed in 2011.
Sanjay is the founder of Solo Capital a financial firm that does business in London and Dubai.  His wife and three kids live in the city with him. Having eyes and ears in the music business, Sanjay was able to find stars passing through Dubai to play private concerts that he would pay for. Invited attendees were expected to donate heavily to autism research in order to see the concert and meet the stars. One such star was Prince, who played in London for the first concert.

South African Apartheid Inspires Human Rights Foundation

Thor Halvorssen Mendoza, the founder of the Human Rights Foundation and the Oslo Freedom Forum, was born on March 9, 1976 in Venezuela. His father served as the Ambassdaor of Narcotic Affairs in President Carlos Andrés’ administration in the 1970s. Pérez Mendoza is a distant relative Cristóbal Mendoza and Simón Bolívar who were the first two presidents of Venezuela.

The Human Rights Foundation Founder came to the United States in his late teens to attend college at University of Pennsylvania. He was a thriving student, becoming a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society and graduating magna cum laude. Both his undergraduate and graduate degrees are in Political Science and History.

Thor Halvorssen founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in 1999, prior to founding The Human Rights Foundation in spring 2005. The roots for this foundation started in 1989 when Halvorssen came out against the South African apartheid when Halvorssen lived in London. His father’s false imprisonment in 1993 in Venuzuela and his mother being brutally wounded and gunned down had both played a part in Thor Halvorssen’s strong interest in protecting a person’s individual rights. Halvorssen stepped down as head of FIRE in 2004 to command this new foundation. Founded in 2005, Halvorssen opened up a New York office for this foundation in 2006. HRF regularly schedules events and conferences that include panel discussions, information sessions on Capitol Hill, and guest sessions to promote individual human rights.

HRF is exposing dictatorship in public relations firms and celebrity charities. HRF came out against Kanye West performing at Kazakhstani president Nursultan Nazarbayev’s grandson’s wedding for of $3 million fee. The Kazakhstani president can not only seek election as many times as he wants to, he has also restricted freedom of speech, free assembly, and the freedom for the people of Kazakhstani to worship in any religion they choose. HRF also opposed Jennifer Lopez for accepting the $1.5 million offer to sing Happy Birthday to dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, last June, who is the president of Turkmenistan.

The Human Rights Foundation plans to host a Global College Freedom Forum on Friday, March 4th at Universidad Francisco Marroquín to promote freedom of education for everyone.