Genocide Awareness Week

By: Alice Zalan
The week of November 28-December 2 was Genocide Awareness Week at MSJ. The members of STAND, a student anti-genocide coalition, and ERRC, Ethnic Race Relations Committee, organized this week in remembrance of genocides past and present and to raise awareness for the atrocities going on in many places around the world. The Bell Tower quad featured posters portraying statistics (on death and rape) about the different genocides going on, such as the genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo. ERRC Co-President, Senior Malinda Cheung said, “Through the posters, we hoped to raise awareness about these incomprehensible actions. We tried to focus on key statistics to help people grasp the true reality of what is going on.” Many students paused to look at the posters on the wall. Senior Manaswini Avvari said, “When we think of genocide our thoughts automatically flash to past genocides such as the Holocaust, but genocide awareness week reminds us that there are many genocides going on at the moment, even ones we are not aware of.”

Genocide Awareness Week continued with a die-in on Thursday December 1. Members of ERRC and STAND, as well as willing passersby, lay down on the amphitheater. They held gravestone cutouts over their bodies, detailing what kind of death they had experienced as a result of genocide. They lay in silence for the duration of lunch while many students stopped to read the statistics on the gravestones. STAND Treasurer Junior Neha Verma told us “The die in was pretty great this year. We had many members from STAND and ERRC that participated. People walked by and read the information about the ongoing genocides, so we met our goal of spreading awareness!”
The day before the die-in, members of ERRC held read meetings to speak a few words about the week and to pass out white ribbons to signify peace. They encouraged everyone to learn more about genocides and help in any way possible. ERRC Co-President Alekya Rajanala said, “We hope this week has benefited everyone in the MSJ community. It is welcoming to know that our work was heard throughout the student body and that it affected many people.”

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