Missouri Western State University always makes sure that every event is as inclusive as possible. Last Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Human Rights Fair had a great turn out in Blum Student Union.
Students made posters covering important topics such as black oppression, homeless veterans, human trafficking and many more sensitive, but very significant subjects. These subjects are very hard to talk about, but they are very real.
Tia Booker made a presentation about police brutality in the U.S. and she and her partner focused on African American men. Booker also found that many African American men suffer from mental health illnesses.
“To me, the Human Rights Fair was a chance for me to speak on the issue,” Booker said. “It (gives) others (a chance to) get involved.”
These problems are all ongoing in the U.S. today and that is one reason the Human Rights Fair is so important.
“They still happen today. We now have social media that brings it to light,” Booker said. “2020 has been a year of a lot of protesting and people speaking out on the issues. I think that we all want change.”
Dr. Grey Endres is an associate professor in the social work department and teaches the class that the students made their posters for. They picked topics that inspired and were important to them and researched over the course of the semester.
“I think human rights are bipartisan issues—it doesn’t matter what side politically you are on,” Endres said.
Dr. Endres has been involved with the last two of the three years that the Human Rights Fair has been held at Missouri Western. Dr. Endres focuses on child welfare and believes that with a combination of Thanksgiving and the Election, the Human Rights Fair fits right in because we need to be thankful for our blessings.
Dr. Endres said that the Human Rights Fair will be happening again to ensure the students of Missouri Western are aware of the struggles some of us go through.
Senior Maddisyn Urban attended the fair and saw many of the posters that shed light on the injustice in the world today. Urban lives in St. Joseph and knows of the struggles a lot of people in the community go through.
“The topics that were covered at the Human Rights Fair opened my eyes at how they’re affecting the immediate community in St. Joseph,” Urban said. “It helped me to identify my privilege, but also challenged me to use my privilege to represent those without a voice to speak.”
The Human Rights Fair was very eye-opening and spread knowledge to every student involved. Now, many students may have the courage and knowledge they need to address a situation they may have been avoiding, and make sure that they are aware of their surroundings when it comes to how scary the world can be today.