USM celebrates Human Rights Week
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 00:11
The Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties at the University of Southern Mississippi is hosting its second annual Human Rights Week this week to bring a melting pot of fun, education and culture to campus.
Events ranging from tabling to marches will be held throughout the week. The events are free and sponsored by the Center for Human Rights and other various student organizations.
Affiliated student organizations include Amnesty International, Bachelors of Social Work Club (BSW), Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), Golden Eagle Intertribal Society, Secular Student Alliance and Students for Human Rights.
The FMLA started the events yesterday morning with a tabling in Shoemaker Square titled “What is Feminism?”
“Many people have misconceptions about feminism and feminists,” said co-moderator for the Center for Human Rights Stephanie Craig. “The FMLA had a table set up in Shoemaker Square to explain what feminism is and why it’s important in today’s society.”
Later that day, the Intertribal Society held a panel on Native American human rights issues in the Liberal Arts Building. The panel opened with a demonstration of traditional Native American hoop dancing, followed by a discussion of Native American issues with members of the Choctaw, Coushatta and Lakota tribes.
Next, the FMLA held a screening and discussion of the film “Half the Sky,” a film about women’s rights and issues across the globe.
Today at noon, the BSW is holding a fundraiser/tabling for the Foundation Against Child Exploitation & Human Trafficking (F.A.C.E) in Shoemaker Square. “It’s an information exchange and fundraiser,” said Madeline Carter, co-moderator for the Center for Human Rights. “Donate a dollar, learn about a great foundation and what they do and get a basket containing various USM paraphernalia.”
At 6:30 p.m., the Secular Student Alliance is holding the “Ask-an-Atheist” panel in the Gonzales Auditorium of the LAB.
“The purpose of this panel will be to answer questions from the Southern Miss community and dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding atheism,” Craig said. “The forum is open to everyone and strives to provide honest responses to public inquiries about secularism.”
Tomorrow, Students for Human Rights has will table in Shoemaker Square at noon and will feature crafts made by immigrants to raise awareness of the forum at 6:30 p.m. that evening in room 101 of the International Center.
“The forum’s purpose is to raise awareness of the hardships faced by African immigrants here in the southern United States,” Craig said. “The panel will feature immigrants from various African nations currently residing in Mobile, Alabama, and detail their individual experiences.”
On Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Gonzales Auditorium, Amnesty International will have a panel titled “What is Prison Reform?” The forum will feature three distinguished panelists: Wes Johnson, doctoral coordinator and professor in the School of Criminal Justice at USM; Elissa Johnson, staff attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights organization that provides legal service and advocacy across the American South; and Don Cabana, Warden of Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman from 1984-91, chair of Criminal Justice at the Tradition campus of William Carey University and author of “Death at Midnight: The Confession of an Executioner.”
“The forum will address what prison reform is, how it affects us, why we need it, how it may benefit the criminal justice system as a whole – just things like that,” Craig said.
On Friday, the Intertribal Society will host a “Cultural March.” The march will start at 12 p.m. at the Thad Cochran Center and end at the Medicine Garden.
“The march is meant to celebrate Native American culture,” Craig said. “People of all backgrounds and cultures are welcome to jump in and participate, however, and celebrate their culture alongside others.”
The culminating event of the week is a screening of the documentary “Las Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo and the Search for Identity” on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at T-Bones Records & Cafe on Hardy Street.
“Las Abuelas is a documentary about the legacy of human rights abuses – notably child kidnappings – during the military dictatorship in Argentina in the late 1970s and 80s,” Craig said.
According to the Center’s mission statement, “The Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties at USM is founded to advance the principle of ‘liberty and justice for all, both here and abroad…the Center serves the university and broader communities by fostering collaboration with community partners on projects that address problems of social justice and public policy.”
To learn more about The Center for Human Rights and Civil Liberties at USM and the events taking place this week, visit usm.edu/human-rights.