Human rights and social justice campus organization Human Rights Board is hosting their fourth annual Human Rights Week this week, with events under the theme, “[under]underrepresented,” beginning today and continuing until Thursday.
The three-day event will provide film screenings, teach-ins, social mixers and meetings hosted by a multitude of campus organizations — including UCSB I.D.E.A.S., Black Student Union, Community Affairs Board and Environmental Affairs Board. Although Human Rights Week traditionally occurs Spring Quarter, this year’s series has been scheduled for fall so the organization can gather more support for a statewide or UC-systemwide human rights conference at UCSB later in the school year. The full schedule of events and other information can be found on the Facebook page for the event, which is entitled, “Humyn Rights Week: [under]underrepresented,” and is hosted by the Facebook group “Human Rights Board, UCSB” — found at www.facebook.com/hrbucsb.
Carly Claire McMaster, fourth-year global studies major and events coordinator for Human Rights Board, said this year will be the first to incorporates a distinct theme into the week’s events. In light of the theme, McMaster said, all events seek to give voices to students from marginalized communities.
“It’s really focusing this year on already-silenced voices, marginalized voices in already minority communities,” McMaster said.
Additionally, she said the event has the power to bring together “different organizations to work together and cooperate together.”
McMaster said Human Rights Week provides an essential space for students to learn about one another in a setting that goes beyond the classroom.
“We learn a lot in our classrooms, but there’s a whole lot that we need to be encouraged to question,” McMaster said. “I think that a lot of times students are encouraged to question so it’s really important to hear the stories of other students here on campus because all of these events are student-led.”
The educational and eye-opening nature of these events, McMaster said, stands as a testament to the kind of impact students can make.
“It really shows student power and how important it is to remind ourselves [that] if we educated ourselves on these issues, that’s such a powerful tool that we have against the structures that are built against us.”
Chancellor Henry T. Yang said he commends students’ efforts to plan such events, as they can create a more informed and cohesive student body at UCSB.
“I applaud our students’ involvement with Humyn Rights Week,” Yang said. “This event provides our academic community with important opportunities for education, dialogue and action on critical issues affecting our global society.”
In addition, Yang said he feels grateful to students who work to make a difference in their lives as well as others’.
“I am continually impressed by how informed and engaged our students are on these issues,” Yang said. “I deeply appreciate the time, energy and expertise that our faculty, staff, students and alumni devote to helping to improve life for people around the world.”
Erick Cortes, second-year environmental studies major and a resident assistant at San Nicolas Hall, said the week’s events will connect the campus in an open and productive way.
“I think it’s great to have an opportunity for students to express their opinions in an open environment because it creates a more communicative and educational campus for people to relate what they have learned to others,” Cortes said. “This week promotes inclusivity, and I think part of being a UCSB student is understanding that we shouldn’t add labels to things we come across.”
A version of this article appeared on page 1 of November 12th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.