GBS students spend week on injustice awareness
Updated: May 28, 2012 8:43AM
A weeklong information campaign brought the cruel realities of world genocide and refugee camps to Glenbrook South High School in Glenview.
Students and teachers participated in Titans Stand for Peace — A Week of Awareness, Education and Action.
Starting April 16, a recreated likeness of an African refugee camp was built in the Student Activity Center.
Videos and photographs showed life inside the camps — cholera, child graves and how aid reached refugees.
A website allowed students to write elected officials, urging them to stop violence and oppression.
“A lot of students hear or learn about these issues, but it’s not always clear what type of action we can take or what type of impact we could have,” said Isabel Flores, a junior at Glenbrook South.
“By taking part in Titans Stand for Peace week, we have an outlet to get involved, spread the word and make a difference.”
Dozens of visitors placed notes on a wall inside the Student Activity Center for everyone to read. Examples of these notes included, “Sheer magnitude of this issue compared to the small amount of publicity”, “I don’t pretend to understand … I’ll never understand” and “Cease the violence and terror.”
Members of Students Taking Action Now in Darfur (STAND) at Glenbrook South provided presentations to social studies classes all week.
On Friday night, STAND and the school’s Amnesty International chapter hosted Jamnesty — a concert for human rights featuring several student musicians in the Norman B. Watson Auditorium.
Since 2006, STAND has raised $21,000 to build 16 schools in Sudan’s Darfur region.
“This is an essential project because the Darfur people have no money from the government to build schools,” said Lauren Ingebrigtsen, a Glenbrook South sophomore who joined STAND as a freshman.
“If we can set up schools and educate kids there, they can get careers and do a lot more for the area,” she said, adding violence among religions was at the core of Darfur’s civil problems.
“The violence is unimaginable. I’ve learned about violence carried out against innocent people. Their government is trying to wipe them off the face of the earth,” she said.
On Friday, social studies teacher Matt Whipple led the freshmen assembly in a talk about oppressed people in Bosnia, Ruanda, Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, Thailand and Europe.
Whipple said 15.4 million refugees were in the world, of which 80 percent were women and children.
“People flee war and don’t know where to go. You have to act and tell others they need to act. Tell your congressmen and United Nations leaders. They need to hear from,” he said.
A senior, Imran Nizamuddin’s experiences in STAND and Model UN, an academic simulation of the United Nations that educates young people about current events, increased his interest in world politics and health.
“STAND made me realize that what we do with our lives should have an impact. I plan on going to medical school.
“I won’t stop joining activist groups like STAND where I can help victims of conflict and genocide,” he said.
Nizamuddin has been accepted to St. Louis University, Mo., in the Medical Scholars program.