Associated Students’ Human Rights Board brought students, faculty and community members together for a “Peace in the Park” demonstration in Isla Vista’s People’s Park on Saturday.
The rally featured local artwork, musical performances from UCSB’s all-female a cappella group Vocal Motion and teach-ins with global and international studies professor Paul Amar and Asian American studies professor Diane Fujino on topics such as student protests and university tuition increases. The event also offered several workshops ranging from “Feminism in the Work Place,” “The Corporatization of Isla Vista,” “History of Black Activism at UCSB” and “The Crisis in the Horn of Africa.”
According to HRB Outreach Coordination Officer Ashkon Molaei, a third-year global and international studies major, the group aims to educate students about pertinent social justice and human rights issues.
“As an organization, we stand for bringing student groups together and, on top of that, we want to incite a sense of activism within the student body to really start critically thinking about a lot of issues that affect every single one of these student groups,” Molaei said. “This event basically stands for that cause; it stands for bringing people together.”
Molaei said the board hopes to encourage subsequent demonstrations within the campus community.
“We’re hoping that this event goes into a series of events that is going to be inspired by member organizations instead of us being the ones that make it happen,” Molaei said. “We want students to take charge and fight for what they believe.”
First-year anthropology and global and international studies major Vanessa Ramos said Fujino’s presentation about student protests highlighted the potential for change in the modern education system.
“I like the connections that [Fujino] made between the radical movements in the ’60s to now and how they’re so different but so alike and the potential of what can possibly happen,” Ramos said. “I felt that she explained the things that got made possible in the ’60s through activism; I feel that now we are at the root of a revolution where we can possibly bring change.”
HRB Vice-Chair and fourth-year global and international studies major Renee Funston said faculty support strengthened the student-organized event’s message.
“It’s so beautiful to see everybody here,” Funston said. “We have a hub full of enthusiasm; I feel like this is really going to grow.”
According to HRB treasurer Shayna Platt, a third-year economics & accounting major, the event allowed students to openly express their views on a wide variety of issues.
“There’s going to be a deep-rooted activism throughout the entire event,” Platt said. “We’re going to talk about things that people don’t usually want to talk about because they feel like it may be taboo or controversial. We’re going to try and wipe away those kinds of barriers.”