The Human Rights Warrior

Jennifer Prestholdt

Jennifer Prestholdt
Minneapolis, Minnesota,
February 25
Human rights lawyer, wife, and mother of three. (Not necessarily in that order.) I write about my experiences in fighting for human rights and how I am trying to bring those lessons home to my kids. Join our journey at, Humanrightswarrior on facebook and @JPrestholdt on Twitter. All material on this blog is © Jennifer Prestholdt, 2011, 2012


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NOVEMBER 15, 2013 12:40PM

The Regular

Beauty's Special Order up! Beauty's Specials at Beauty's Luncheonette in Montreal

"I've been coming here since the beginning," he said conspiratorially, leaning towards me from the stool next to mine.

I had noticed the white haired gentleman earlier, as he was shouldering his way through the Sunday brun… Read full post »

OCTOBER 22, 2013 12:41PM

Chronicles of a Bike Commuter


I've been a bike commuter on and off for twenty years.   But it wasn't until I began posting about it on Facebook recently that I began to realize that maybe biking is more for me than just transportation to and from work.  I know that bike commutingRead full post »

20130626-152500.jpgLike so many, I was excited to hear of the decision by the United States Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act this morning. This decision in United States v. Windsor, along with the end result of the Prop 8 decision, was what I had definitely… Read full post »

A post that I wrote for World Moms Blog, originally published on June 12 the  World Day Against Child Labour.Moroccan flag

While millions of tourists visit Morocco every year, very few are aware of  a hidden human rights abuse that is occurring behind closed doors in Morocco's cities.   Mo… Read full post »

MAY 2, 2013 12:15PM


A couple of days ago, my  daughter asked me, “Do you ever have regrets?”

She asked me this in the bathroom, as I was drying my hair.  No matter what I am doing, my two youngest kids seem to hover around me, fluttering like moths to a flame. … Read full post »


With the Supreme Court hearing arguments in two cases related to same-sex marriage, was written - and said and thought - last week about marriage equality in the United States. No matter how these particular nine justices rule (and there is speculation that, unlike the&nbs/… Read full post »

MARCH 22, 2013 9:18PM

A Mother In A Refugee Camp

Photo by my colleague Rosalyn Park, taken during our trip to Sierra Leone in 2004Photo by my colleague Rosalyn Park, taken during our trip to Sierra Leone in 2004

Nelson Mandela read Chinua Achebe when he was in prison and reportedly described him as a writer "in whose company the prison walls fell down."  I read Chinua Achebe's Things Fall ARead full post »

MARCH 21, 2013 3:28PM

In Morocco

View of the Kasbah in Rabat
View of the Kasbah in Rabat
January 2013

There is no guidebook to Morocco, and no way of knowing, once one has left Tangier behind, where the long trail over the Rif is going to land one, in the sense understood by any one accustomed to European certainties. 

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This is the second in my series of CALL OF (Parental) DUTY posts about the discussion we are having in our house about violent video games. Today is my 13 year-old son Sevrin's chance to share his point of view.  Below is a letter that he wrote to us (his parents) about hisRead full post »

FEBRUARY 27, 2013 12:39PM

CALL OF (Parental) DUTY

Target Practice

It's pretty rare that a national debate mirrors so exactly one that is raging within my own family circle.  But in the wake of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary - and subsequent comments by National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre blaming gun violence on video game makers… Read full post »

DECEMBER 19, 2012 11:08AM

Second Grade Assault

Me at age 7

I picked up my seven-year old daughter early from school one day not too long ago.  "How was your day?" I asked, as she buckled herself securely into her booster seat.  The key was in the ignition, and my brain had already sentRead full post »

NOVEMBER 5, 2012 11:50AM


 And now for something completely different.


 Last week, I found the normal shapes and rhythms of my world disrupted. In the midst of a major storm in the East  and a bitter, divisive election, we buried my grandmother.  She was 98, so it shouldn't have been a surpris… Read full post »

Every morning when I come into work, I am greeted by the smiling face of a young girl. Her hair is pulled neatly back into two braids, glossy black against her pink hairbands.  Her eyes, dark and alert, shine - I swear I can see a twinkle in them.  SheRead full post »

OCTOBER 5, 2012 3:36PM

Soup Season

Like most mothers, I spend a good deal of time preparing meals for my family.  Most mornings find me in the kitchen, making lunches as the sky lightens from deep blue to pink, and so on to sweet orange. Brilliant shafts of sunlight are spilling through the back door byRead full post »

Some students walk - up to 2 hours each way - to the Sankhu-Palubari Community School to access their right to education.

I've been in Nepal for the past ten days with a team of staff and volunteers.  We are here to visit the Sankhu-Palubari Community School (SPCS) in theRead full post »



Amygdaleza migrant detention center in Athens

 Landing at Elefthérios Venizélos in Athens, you can't miss the sprawling blue and gold IKEA near the airport.  While tourists arriving  in Greece may recognize the siren call oRead full post »

AUGUST 24, 2012 1:21PM

Hockey Moms

My 10 year old son comes out of the ice arena, swaggering despite the heavy hockey bag he carries like a giant backpack. His hockey stick and waterbottle he wields before him, for all the world like a rod and staff.  I'm sitting on a picnic table in the sunRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
JULY 19, 2012 3:28PM

The Lessons of 22 July

My daughter in Norway in August 2010.
For many in Norway, the terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011 represent the loss of innocence.

On the morning of July 22 last year, I read the breaking news of a car bomb attack in Oslo, Norway.  I clicked on the link… Read full post »

 I'm reposting today in honor of Sir Patrick Stewart's 72nd birthday.
Patrick Stewart Stop VAW
"Our house was small, and when you grow up with domestic violence in a confined space you learn to gauge, very precisely, the temperature of situations. I knew ex/
Read full post »
JULY 5, 2012 5:35PM

PHOTO ESSAY: Cartooning for Peace

Cartoon by Kianoush

In May, I was in Geneva to participate in the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review of Morocco and India.  I went for a run one day along Quai Wilson on Lake Geneva and discovered an exhibition of political cartoons. The exhibition was sponsored by CartooningRead full post »

JUNE 30, 2012 11:01PM

Final #Fortune

JUNE 29, 2012 5:51PM

Every Day, A Stitch

 Every stitch is a day

I practiced asylum law for the first seven years of my career, representing refugees who were fleeing persecution and human rights abuses in their home countries and seeking asylum and safety in the U.S.  These are people who are not easy to forget and whose stories sho

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JUNE 27, 2012 12:42PM

India's Politics Without Principles

Raj Ghat,  Mahatma Gandhi Memorial

New Delhi, India

Last year, on my first trip to India, I visited Raj Ghat in New Delhi.   Raj Ghat (or Rajghat) is the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial and, as Gandhi has long been one of my human rights heroes, I was glad to have… Read full post »

JUNE 26, 2012 2:48PM

Repost: How to Live to 101

Grandpa Olaf at 99

When asked the secret to living past 100, my Grandpa Olaf  had a standard response.  Eyes atwinkle and shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter, he would wait a moment (to maximize the impact) and then reply, "DON'T DIE!"  But Grandpa Olaf had more going f… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
MAY 30, 2012 4:59PM

Cutting The Head Off The Snake

Charles G. Taylor with NPFL fighters during attack on Monrovia in 1990

(Image Source) 

The Special Court for Sierra Leone  today sentenced former Liberian President Charles G. Taylor to 50 years in prison for his role in the Sierra Leonean conflict in the 1990s.   Mr./… Read full post »