Northwood’s Amnesty International club hosted its annual Human Rights Week from Jan. 8–12. Over the course of the week, five speakers were invited to talk to students about issues ranging from sexuality to the Rohingyan refugee crisis.
Each of the five days featured a different speaker and topic. On Tuesday, a panel consisting of juniors Ashlie Powers and Estelle Lee and seniors Amanda Miskell and Jonathan Banh spoke about what it meant for them to identify as members of marginalized groups, with Lee sharing their experience of being both gender non-binary and queer.
“It felt great to be able to share my story,” Lee said. “The presentation went well, and the questions people asked were really thoughtful.”
Other speakers included Carlos Herrera from Resilience OC and Frank Wilderson, a professor and head of the PhD program in critical theory at the University of California, Irvine. Herrera spoke to students about United States immigration and deportation centers in Orange County, while Wilderson introduced students to college-level critical theory and race relations.
“Wilderson’s theories on the way that race affects how we interact with our environment and how other people interact with us was really interesting,” junior Mansi Garneni said. “It was really eye-opening to see a new perspective on instances of violence in the United States.”
In addition to hosting speakers, NHS Amnesty International also invited a local Filipino theatre to perform a play about depression and bipolar disorder. The play, written by Christopher Aguilar, dealt with the interactions between transphobia and clinical mental health issues, particularly in Asian families.
Overall, the club was very pleased with the presentations that occurred and is already looking forward to next year.
“I thought this year’s Human Rights Week was a success,” club president senior Harry Liner said. “It was great that we were able to break out of the cycle of repetitive topics that we’d fallen into in previous years, and I’m encouraging next year’s event to push for and explore new topics.”