Amnesty International is an opportunity that allows students to stand up for human rights. This campus club, directed by Ana Palma-Gutierrez and Monica Mendoza, is scheduled to have their first campus-wide event on Friday, Feb. 29, from 12:30-2:30, in C120 A and B.
“The event is about immigration,” said Palma-Gutierrez. “It’s going to be a reminder and educational opportunity where students can learn about immigration rights worldwide, not just in the U.S. It’s about raising awareness and hopefully teaching students at BC, and reminding them about how privileged they are for being able to study here in the United States, because not everyone has that opportunity.”
The event will consist of a student panel, a simulation, performances, and a video introduction.
“The panel is going to really focus on the diversity of the panelists,” said Mendoza. “We have Takhmina and Abshir, an undocumented student and two from third-world-countries. They’ll give their perspective from coming from all over the world and then being in the Untied States.”
Takhmina Dzhuraeva and Abshir Mahamed are prominent ASG members, hailing from Tajikistan and Somalia, respectively.
Mendoza went on to say, “We’re also going to be having a skit that engages the audience.” Palma-Gutierrez added, “We’re planning simulations during the event where students get to feel what it’s like to be an undocumented immigrant.” The directors mentioned that they were working out the details of the simulation to ensure that it complied with all BC safety regulations.
A clip from the 2011 movie “A Better Life” will also be shown at the event, so “students get to see what it’s like to move to the United States, starting from zero and finding a better life,” said Palma-Gutierrez said.
The event is also going to feature some performers – Palma-Gutierrez said, “We’re trying to have a fun and entertaining event, because when it comes to human rights it isn’t usually fun. We want to give them a positive feeling about this.”
Victor Perez, a student, will perform a song he wrote about immigration rights. Other performers are local, like Luwees, a Bellevue performer. “His style is very similar to The Blue Scholars,” said Mendoza.
Planning the event was very much a team effort – The directors had a major role, but both stressed that it was hugely a team effort that would not have been possible without the hard work of the whole club.
According to the directors, the main goal of the event is bringing issues like this to the awareness of the BC public. Mendoza said, “We want to get as many Bellevue College students aware about Amnesty International and human rights, and get them to be more passionate about human rights so they can do more in order to help people.”
Palma-Gutierrez said that the main thing she wanted students to take away was appreciation. “Appreciation of what they have; appreciation of their education, appreciation of their lives. Once you appreciate what you have, you open your mind to what other people go through. You start taking action and helping people around you.”
The Bellevue College branch of Amnesty International – a worldwide organization that fights for human rights – was restarted in November by Palma-Gutierrez and Mendoza after being disassembled for years. Mendoza and Palma-Gutierrez realized a shared passion for human rights at a leadership retreat they both attended and decided to start up this club. The club works closely with The Latin American Culture Club and El Centro Latino, and is about to start working with UNICEF.
“I would just encourage students to get involved in the club and contact Monica and me if they have questions,” said Palma-Gutierrez. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org