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  • May 29, 2024

    Kyle and his commitment to Human Rights

    Kyle Chemerika is a Practicum Student at MARL
    Summer 2024

    Kyle is an undergraduate honours student in the Rhetoric, Writing and Communications Department at the University of Winnipeg. Both academically and professionally, his work has focused on topics like the rhetoric of extremism and radicalization, the role of social and legacy media in the democratic process, and the intersectionality of human rights injustices worldwide. 


    I am Kyle, an undergraduate studying Rhetoric, Communications, and Writing at the University of Winnipeg, and I am very excited to join MARL for an internship as a Research and Editing Assistant over the spring semester. While the title rhetoric, communications, and writing may lead one to believe that I engage purely in the study of written language, this would be incorrect. Much of my time in university has been spent learning various communication theories and analyzing media ‘texts,’ from television to movies and advertisements, digital, print, and every medium in between. 

    How we communicate with each other, from the individual level to groups or communities at the societal level, constructs and reinforces what we understand about the world around us. I seek, both in my studies and professional work, to produce insights into how we communicate knowledge, experience, and expectations, strengthening my capacity to communicate in the process. I have spent much of my time researching and analyzing radicalization and extremism in the last three years. For instance, how and why are individuals able to be radicalized to the point of committing acts of extreme violence? How can this process be interrupted or prevented? 

    This exploration has led me to the Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties, an organization deeply committed to advocacy and education in pursuit of social justice—commitments they have maintained throughout their 46-year history. I am proud to be able to work with the organization as a Research and Editing Assistant. In this position, I will leverage my skills as a communicator to ensure that MARL’s messaging has the greatest potential to affect real change in Winnipeg and abroad.    

    Integral, but often peripheral, to the conversation on extremism and radicalization is their intersection with human rights. Human rights seek to codify conditions conducive to good living, and in doing so, they discern societal boundaries in various contexts. Historically, nation-states had carte blanche to decide what rights applied to their citizens and in what contexts. Yet, the globalized interconnectedness of our world today, which is responsible for many socioeconomic and ecological issues, also produces a sense of global solidarity. This global community pushes for the protection and recognition of those communities and individuals facing human rights abuses wherever they occur, and this is what I think of when I conjure human rights.  

    International bodies like the United Nations have enshrined many rights that are also protected in many national contexts, such as the right to live, freely express oneself, and be protected against bigotry, violence, or hate-mongering. For Canadians, many of these rights are enshrined in our constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (CCRF). This provides a great deal of power to the Supreme Court of Canada to work on behalf of Canadians to ensure these rights and freedoms are not infringed upon by the government.  

    However, the scope of human rights is always expanding as people share their experiences and difficulties, and we learn as a society what is and is not, or should not, be acceptable. This underscores the need for advocacy to promote the protection of such rights and to see these protections observed, enshrined, and protected. This is the crucial work that MARL is committed to, and I am deeply grateful to be a part of it. 

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