“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.