Steve Preskill and Karen DeMoss share a passion for education. They have dedicated their careers to the field.
Steve, a long-time educator, is currently a teaching fellow in a writing program, leading one of the human rights sections. His partner, Karen, is spearheading a national effort to transform the way the United States properly funds and trains our future teachers.
“Civil rights and equality have always influenced my teaching career,” Steve said. “School was an anchor in my life,” Karen shared. “I remember watching the Rodney King riots on television and I knew firsthand that educational inequality exists. I was inspired to do something about it.”
Together they share another passion: the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, which they have attended for the past six years. “It is the single most important event we go to—it has been transformative. The films teach us, inspire us and challenge us,” Karen said. “We look forward to the festival every year and always get so much out of it,” Steve added. “These films have affected how we think about our work related to the world’s human rights.”
Through the festival, Steve and Karen became more familiar with the influential work of Human Rights Watch around the world and have supported HRW with monthly gifts. When they learned of HRW’s Legacy Challenge, they were inspired and motivated to include a gift in their wills to Human Rights Watch. “The Legacy Challenge (made possible by Board member Shelley Frost Rubin) allowed us to increase our commitment. We are honored and humbled to be a part of it,” Karen said.
As they anticipate the festival this year, Karen and Steve reflect on the profound influence past Festivals have had on them.
“Those 10 days in 2010 changed my life. I have always valued social justice. The festival solidified to me that human rights are everything,” Karen said. “We feel deeply that there is an importance to supporting the work of Human Rights Watch,” Steve continued, “now more than ever.”