WHAT CANDLE WILL YOU LIGHT?: In the mural painting, each student drew a candle using the prompt, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the dark” to emphasize the importance of making progress in difficult times. (Ellie Chan)
WHAT CANDLE WILL YOU LIGHT?: In the mural painting, each student drew a candle using the prompt, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the dark” to emphasize the importance of making progress in difficult times.

Ellie Chan

Human Rights Week fosters student activism

January 20, 2023

IGNITING CHANGE: Junior Raha Dayyani draws on a small canvas in contribution to a collective mural, as Amnesty wanted to illustrate the significance of unity. (Ellie Chan)

Amnesty International Club held its annual Human Rights Week from Jan. 3-6, hosting guest speaker events and opportunities for student activism.

Activities involved reproductive justice, immigration, inhumane governance and the importance of unity so students could gain awareness of current human rights issues and make a direct impact.

“The club is a place where people can actually get active in their communities to fight for something that they believe in,” freshman Lauren Chew said. “On social media, the only activism people will do is share posts on their stories. Although it may help get a couple of people informed, I feel like it’s not as useful as directly contacting the people that are in charge of the legislation that affects us.”

Amnesty International has hosted Human Rights Week at Northwood since 2012, but the pandemic limited their ability to orchestrate school-wide events. This year, without an example of Human Rights Week before 2020, board members had to rebuild their resources.

“We didn’t know what that process looked like because we hadn’t experienced it ourselves,” Amnesty International Club president senior Sana Hamid said. “We didn’t know how previous years had done it—how they brainstormed ideas, what kinds of events they have done in the past.”

Starting in October 2022, Amnesty planned Human Rights Week by using their connections in the community to invite local advocates and collaborate with the Art Club. They chose activities that would be relevant to current events and students’ interests in creating art.

“It’s good how people are actually taking action and this—making phone calls and letters—is doing way more than I could do myself,” sophomore Baylie Wong said. “It’s really good that you have a supportive community and other people from the student body that can help support you and do the same activities so you feel less alone.”

When planning the week’s events, Amnesty acknowledged the barriers that may prevent students from taking a stand, so they also hoped to inspire students and make advocacy accessible with their activities.

“We wanted to help students see that it’s not impossible to fight these crises,” Hamid said. “Even though we’re young and we’re still students, there is still a way you can get involved and make a change in the world.”

 

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