Anthony Lyen, Tempo Editor
Photo courtesy of STAND facebook page: STAND is a social justice group on campus that deals with injustices throughout the world.
When people think about the unethical violation of human rights, many barbaric practices may come to mind, including torture, genocide and human trafficking. Sometimes, the violation isn’t deadly, but a true social injustice such as unfair wages.
And even though it is hard to believe, terrible injustices and the violation of human rights happen every day in our own world.
This is where Lewis University’s student-run group STAND comes in.
“STAND is a human rights advocacy and educational group,” said Ariel Zarate, a psychology and social work double major and member of the social justice group. “The purpose is to inform students of human rights, violations and current world events that relate to human rights, hopefully in a fun and engaging way.”
The group aims to represent Lewis’ Catholic and LaSallian heritage, working as social justice advocates and “promoting the dignity of the human person.” Zarate, a senior, is an active member of STAND, and she believes students should know about the group because of how the violation of human rights affects everyone.
“[Students] can look at the world with different eyes and hopefully feel moved to do more to protect those who have their rights violated,” Zarate said. “There is no act too small. Even being educated allows for those who suffer to not be neglected.”
Every year, STAND chooses a year-long campaign to center events and discussions around, focusing on a particular human rights issue in the world today.
Recently, STAND had a movie-viewing event, inviting guests to view the film “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson. The film explores the dangerous and brutal world of human trafficking, which is the theme of this year’s STAND campaign.
As a way to make a change in the world, STAND writes letters to government officials, discussing the many human rights violations that occur throughout the world on a daily basis.
While this is an effective way to encourage change, the group hopes to inform the Lewis community while still having a good time.
A Christmas social is being planned for Dec. 6, which will talk about the Advent Conspiracy, a campaign that focuses on the handmade creation of gifts instead of purchasing them and using the potential “gift money” to be donated. Gift-making materials, food and entertainment will be provided as well as an appearance from the big man himself, Santa Claus.
Ultimately, STAND is about getting the word out of the injustices that occur globally and making a difference.
“This group is important to me because it is … essentially helping others,” added Zarate. “As a social work major, I am passionate about those who are marginalized and underrepresented. I think [STAND] is a great way to combine a good message and goals with fun activities.”
If you are interested in joining STAND or learning about the human rights the group strives to protect, contact Assistant Director of University Ministry Adam Setmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.