Week of Action Confronts Human Rights Injustices

April 21, 2011 Campus, Events, Features

“All humans have rights.” This was the slogan that drove this year’s second annual Week of Action held from April 11 to 15. Each day was dedicated to a different social justice issue with the goal of bringing light to human rights issues that face the world today.

The week began with Ra­cial Equality day. Members of the Black Student Union (BSU) made badges corresponding to the racial categories found on the Rollins application.

Erin Briosio ‘14 learned a lot at the event. “The social experi­ment that the BSU put on was especially thought-provoking for me… I felt limited by the buttons and I wondered if these socially constructed race labels limited or hindered me in any ways other than just on an ap­plication.“

That evening, BSU hosted a conversation with Julian Cham­bliss, professor of history, about black identity in the United States.

Tuesday April 12 was dedi­cated to Women’s Rights. Mem­bers of the Lucy Cross Women’s Center gave students the oppor­tunity to identify as feminists by filling out a poster which said, “I can be a [blank], and still be a feminist.” Many students par­ticipated in this activity, which produced a wide variety of characteristics describing femi­nism.

Wednesday, April 13, en­titled Freedom of Speech, pro­moted religious diversity and understanding. Members of the Interfaith Living Learning Com­munity (ILL) hosted a showing of the Bill Maher movie Religu­lous, which shows his current views on the state of world re­ligion.

The main focus of the week was on Thursday, April 14, on Modern-Day Slavery, when 20 students took part in a demon­stration outside the Campus Center to raise awareness of human trafficking in the world today. At exactly 12:25 and 1:25 p.m., 10 students froze in differ­ent positions outside the Cam­pus Center while members of the Week of Action committee put identification cards around their necks. These stated, for ex­ample, age (23); location (Cam­bodia); position (sex slave); and price ($250). The volunteers froze for a total of 10 minutes; many students, faculty and staff stopped in their tracks en route to the Campus Center for lunch.

Tom Gillen from the Hu­man Trafficking Division of Catholic Churches then facili­tated a workshop on the sub­ject, focusing especially on the prevalence of this crime in the United States.

Even though only a small group attended the training ses­sion, each person went away with a newfound knowledge of human trafficking.

Amir Sadeh ’14 found the event interesting. “I thought it was an eye opening presenta­tion. I knew it was a problem, but I had no idea its effects his so close to home.”

To wrap up the week, Spec­trum led Rollins in the national Day of Silence. This day, orga­nized by the Gay and Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), asks people to take a vow of silence to acknowledge the isolation that many LGBT individuals feel every day. The many individuals who partici­pated made their voices heard at the Break the Silence BBQ.

Bailey Robb ‘11 assisted with the week because he want­ed to inspire his peers. “I think a college education should incor­porate aspects of social justice. We are the future and we have to educate ourselves about the injustices in the world so that we can create justice.”

All of the week’s events raised questions which will lead to students becoming better-ed­ucated about social justice and human rights. Be an activist, ed­ucate yourself and look forward to next year’s Week of Action.

To get involved with next year’s Week of Action, contact Mahjabeen Rafiuddin in the Of­fice of Multicultural Affairs at mrafiuddin@rollins.edu.

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