UCSB’s first annual Human Rights Week kicked off today with events dedicated to exposing global injustices.
Each day of the week — hosted by the Human Rights Coalition — will highlight a specific concern, such as children’s rights today, women’s rights on Tuesday, education and immigrant’s rights on Wednesday, queer and environmental rights on Thursday and indigenous rights on Friday. A concert on Friday at Anisq’ Oyo’ Park by local reggae group OnE of Soul Majestic will conclude the week.
The events are free to the public, with the exception of the second annual Kiva Benefit Banquet on Tuesday at Corwin Pavilion. In order to attend, ticketholder’s must donate $5 to the micro-lending entrepreneur of their choice.
Sociology and global & international studies professor Richard Applebaum, the HRC’s academic advisor, said he hopes to involve the UCSB community in the battle against social injustice.
“Human rights should be everyone’s concern,” Applebaum said. “These events are intended to draw people in, educate and motivate people to take action. The purpose is to engage people in the struggle for human rights and social justice around the world. [It is] a struggle that has become ever more acute as a result of globalization, which has created extremes of wealth and poverty, excess and exploitation and a globally inter-linked economy where no one’s hands are clean.”
In addition to organizing the week, Applebaum will also act as the moderator of today’s panel discussion at the MultiCultural Center, “From Congo to California, The Global State of Children’s Rights.” The panel will consist of Kim Svevo, former director of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Elias Elizondo, an advocate for the California Juvenile Justice System and David Lewis, the education and advocacy director of Falling Whistles, a campaign for peace in the African Congo.
According to event founder and group advisor Nicholas Pascal, Human Rights Week’s focus on inspiring local and global action is what distinguishes it from other events.
“The Human Rights Week is more of an interactive endeavor,” Pascal said. “More than simply inform the active UCSB population, our collaborative effort will bring local and international human rights issues to fuel the engine of human rights activism.”
Moreover, Samara Maciel, a fourth-year global studies major, said she is looking forward to seeing a campus-wide attitude change toward human rights issues.
“For us, as university students in a powerful country, we tend to have a very narrow view of the world,” Maciel said. “We don’t experience the struggles that many face and being exposed to these events will, hopefully, cause students to form an opinion and incite change for the better.”