Student activitists highlight human rights in Congo

Posted November 15

Congo may seem very far from Saint Francis, but members of Stand Up! Speak Up! have devoted a week to making students more aware of what’s happening in the African country.

Stand Up! Speak Up! hosted Congo Awareness Week, where during lunch, club members provided information on human rights-related issues taking place in Congo. Specifically, they targeted four areas: conflict minerals, violence against women, child soldiers and environmental impacts.

“This is something that I know I’m passionate about and i can be a voice for those who don’t have a voice,” said senior Jenna Kunz, who organized Congo Awareness Week.

Jenna’s interest in human rights in Congo began when she took the Case Studies in Human Rights course last year with Mrs. Washington. For a project at the end of the semester, she researched various issues happening in Congo and was struck by what she learned. Her research continued over the summer, and her findings led her to start a petition on Change.org, which asks Nintendo to be more accountable in its use of minerals from Congo. The petition has since received more than 6,000 signatures and continues to attract attention.

“This is important because it shows this is a concern to Nintendo’s consumers and customers,” Jenna said.

In addition to supplying information during Congo Awareness Week, Jenna and club members also displayed art and played Congolese music. Jenna was also grateful to members from other school groups, including TAP, AV, the Environmental and Baking clubs, who provided support for her cause.

The event has allowed Stand Up! Speak Up! to reach more students, and Jenna hopes to inspire other Lancers to take a stand on issues they care about.

“I think of the people who have survived atrocities with their strength and resilience,” she said. “They still believe in themselves. So how can I not help them?”

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