Human Rights Week Pushes UCSB Political Activism


Jessica Stevenson,

Photo by Hannah Davey

Associated Students Human Rights Board is hosting a collection of events about various injustices and issues from Feb. 27 to March 4 for University of California Santa Barbara’s Human Rights Week.

Human Rights Week is about human agency in regards to human right injustices both locally and globally. The purpose of the week is to make students more aware of the very personal and important issues that they may not be aware or know little about and to encourage them to take action.

“We hope to start pushing this political climate on this campus so that people can understand there is no time for silence. We should be aware and actively use our own agency to combat these issues,” Sophia Armen, a fourth-year global studies major and co-chair of the Human Rights Board said.

This year’s Human Rights Week is the biggest yet, marking an unprecedented excitement and enthusiasm with over 25 events, tripling the number of organizations participating.

Highlighted by the wide variety of organizations involved, Human Rights Week encompasses an awareness of a wide variety of injustices throughout the world.

Armen says, “Human rights week is a really amazing concept. It is an amazing display of the power of collaboration, when you see so many different student groups focused on different issues, working together and understanding that these injustices affect us all and are really connected.”

According to the World Bank, 64.5 percent of Ugandans live on less than $2 a day. Beadforlife is an organization created to help Ugandan women sustain themselves within their economy, in order to fight poverty. Beadforlife’s web page says that this is “a more sustainable approach to poverty eradication than providing aid.”

In collaboration with ONE, an organization that raises public awareness of poverty and preventable diseases through grassroots campaigning, UCSB students will be selling beads crafted by these Ugandan women, on Wednesday, Feb. 29 outside the University Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seventy percent of the proceeds go back to the women.

When asked why this event is crucial to human rights, Roxana Rodriguez, a third-year history major, and liaison for ONE, says, “ONE works on campaigns about human rights such as providing clean water and collecting old cell phones for women in rural areas, so those about to give birth can get in contact with people. These are all human rights issues because that is what ONE concentrates on, as well as Beadforlife, and collaboration is a key to success in any organization.”

Citing how easy it is to be disconnected from the local Queer population and their struggles, AS Queer Commission will be screening a short documentary, Project Queer Love, on Thursday, March 1, in the MultiCultural Center at 7 p.m. Made by Shae Xu, a fourth-year art history major, the documentary has 30-plus participants, presenting a multitude of experiences and backgrounds.

“When I am watching it, I feel connected with other people’s feelings,” said Xu. “It is really necessary, for me, personally, I feel like as long as I got this idea…I just feel like I have this obligation to transmit those ideas to other people who might need those resources. I really believe whatever action you take, take it locally.”

Other events include a discussion on the struggles of women in the Middle East, a screening and discussion about democracy in Haiti, and many others. All events are free to students.