On Friday, we will be exploring how we can enact positive change in the world with the understanding that problems that impact others around the world can often be connected to our own actions at home.
For the past two days, we have been talking in small groups about five specific cases of human rights abuses occurring around the world: child labor/mining in Tanzania, the forced relocation of Tibetans in China, land grabbing in Mozambique, sweatshops in Bangladesh, and enforced disappearances in Mexico. Today, we will continue connecting these seemingly “foreign” issues to our own lives. We will do this by creating a list of items that we find on ourselves, in the classroom, or at home that connect to one of the issues listed above. Are any of us wearing a t-shirt made in Bangladesh? Did we drink soy milk this morning made from soybeans that were harvested on confiscated land in Mozambique? These questions will lead us to the most important question: does this make us responsible for taking action to combat the abuses created by these global issues?
If we do assume this responsibility, we need to figure out how we can take action and make others care about these issues. First, we will brainstorm how we can raise awareness among CHS students about the five issues we have been discussing in small groups. How do we make a high school student in Charlottesville, Virginia, care about the plight of a child miner in Tanzania or a relocated Tibetan in China? Omékongo will help us apply the answers to this question to his campaign to stop the use of conflict minerals coming from the Congo. We will visualize how we can start a “conflict-free” movement in not only CHS but also the greater Charlottesville community.
We want to keep in mind that it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of global issues that impact us and others abroad. This can cause us to shut down and opt to do nothing about these abuses. We will end the class by discussing how we can overcome this feeling and continue to fight for change. I am looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!