Exploring Diversity, Discrimination, Conflict, And Action In Global Perspectives
Exploring Diversity, Discrimination, Conflict, And Action In Global Perspectives
“We need to learn about Social Justice Movements because their purpose is to advocate for equity for underrepresented groups. This is very important as they have been ignored and discriminated against throughout the history of humanity, and they have never had a voice. Social Justice Movements allow those segregated communities to be heard around the world and therefore create actions. Those actions help produce a social change that little by little will, hopefully, change the social order to live in a more fair world.”
Emilio Zea, Class of 2022
This semester the English and Social Studies Departments collaborated to offer Global Perspectives, an interdisciplinary elective course for tenth and eleventh graders. We offered three sections of the course taught by an English teacher and a Social Studies teacher. We had 29 students working on topics about identity, diversity, discrimination, conflict, and actions to understand social change and social order with a focus on socio-cultural issues in Colombia and in the world.
For our unit about discrimination and conflict, students worked in groups to do research about social justice movements in different parts of the world. Students did research about their movements (historical background, agent-target group dynamics, advocacy and activism), created murals to explain ideas and represent the voices of marginalized communities, and shared their work with students in Holy Innocents Episcopal School in Atlanta, Georgia as well as in class. The conversations about identity, social dynamics, and advocacy were powerful. They promoted understanding and empathy as essential skills to become more globally aware citizens.
Projects Presented In Beatriz Giraldo’s Class
Lucas Morcos, Samuel Torres, and Isabella Rojas
The “Septima papeleta” advocated for social, political, and economic change in Colombia through a constitutional reform for the benefit of the people.This movement started as a protest regarding the indifference of the government towards the murders of political leaders and the inconformity with politicians and the social situation at the moment in Colombia. This protest then turned into the most important student movement in the history of the country.
Sebastián Mahecha and Miguel Arboleda
This was a movement that originated from social discomfort towards many problems in Colombia. The movement advocated for the economic security of the people in times where the pandemic attacked individual finances directly. The movement began after the National Government presented to Congress a new tax reform. Also, it is important to mention that the world, in general, was protesting on behalf of the BLM movement.
Manuela Carreira, Samuel Oliveros, and María Andrea Vallejo
The expression “Me Too” was first used by Tarana Burke, a social activist, in 2006 on the social media platform “Myspace”. The purpose was to promote women empowerment through empathy, especially for young and vulnerable women. “Me Too” is the name of a movement that started virally as a hashtag on social media. It emerged in October 2017 to denounce sexual assault and sexual harassment, following allegations of sexual abuse against American film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein.
Even though this movement reached its objective and Colombia’s Constitution was rewritten, due to bureaucracy, corruption, the inner armed conflict, and many other problems that the country has faced, currently it seems that the change remained just on the paper and that in reality not much has improved. This is the greatest criticism of Colombia’s politics and history, the fact that the theory and the written documents are worthy of respect but in practice very few or none is applied to society.
Sofía Angulo, Sebastián Abello, and Andrés Santa
Feminism advocates for social, political, and economic equality of the sexes (Britannica). It stands for respecting women’s diverse experiences, knowledge and strength, and looks to empower all women and defend their rights. To level the field to give the same opportunities to girls and boys. Feminism understands the physical differences between the genders. Therefore, it does not advocate for them to be the same but equal.
It is difficult to accomplish but achieving social consciousness about the issue is the objective that the movement still needs to work on. There are still many people that know about the existence of the movement; however, they do not pay attention to it or understand its purpose or its message. We would keep trying different communication methods for the message to keep spreading. More sub-movements in social media are necessary, for example, for people to sign and join. In general, the aim is to create and promote social awareness about everything that both the issue and the movement implies.
Projects Presented In Tammy Dobrzynski’s Classes
Black Lives Matter
Carlos Herrera, Camila Valderrama, and Samuel Crane
The Black Lives Matter movement started in 2012 after the murder of a 17-year-old black teenager called Trayvon Martin. He was killed by George Zimmerman, a vigilante captain. The movement started due to the absolution of this murder. The movement started with hashtags in social media and through letters addressed to the black community. The movement gathered momentum with the death of Michael Brown in 2014, murdered by a white cop. It then became an organization that spread not only in the United States but also in Canada and England. Later, in 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement spread around the globe with the death of George Floyd. He was being arrested by two cops because he had bought cigarettes with a fake bill. He was tortured and held on the floor by the cops, in front of the street, and then murdered. This made the BLM movement much stronger, exploiting social media and expanding around the world with protests, several posts, hashtags, and videos supporting the movement in social media from people from different countries. This movement promotes a world where black lives as well as all human lives matter and are respected.
LGTBQ+ Pride Movement
Pablo Azula, Laura Pardo, and Emilio Zea
Members of the LGBTQ+ Pride Movement have been present throughout the history of humanity, but they have been underrepresented and oppressed. Members of this community have gathered in different groups to protest and demand equality. All of these protests have culminated in the creation of the LGBTQ+ pride movement, which seeks acceptance of their community and equal rights and treatment. Members of this community have created many forms of activism like the #PrideMonth, a month in which they have parades, events, and activities to commemorate the LGBTQ+ community. It gathers important brands, celebrities, and communities around the world. Social media and apps such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok have had an impact on the development, importance, and influence of the community worldwide. Even though this community is influential, there are several countries that still do not accept sexuality legally. A total of 69 countries have laws that criminalize homosexuality.
Time to Change
Nicolás Barrera, Amelia Cruz, and Katrina Chala
One of the most overlooked, yet common, marginalizations in the 21st century is the discrimination of people with mental illnesses. They have been the target group of a prolonged bias, in which most of society has been an agent group in maintaining the stereotypes and avoiding important conversations. Although there is still work to be done, groups have formed with the purpose of advocating to end mental health discrimination and stigma. That was the goal of Time to Change, a very successful campaign that started in 2007 in the UK, which until its closure in 2020, impacted over 5.4 million people by helping them improve their mental health. Although Time to Change closed due to lack of funding (which shows the lack of support for this important issue), there are other campaigns like MIND and Rethink Mental Illness, which continue pursuing the mission of improving the public behavior toward people with mental illness, reducing the amount of discrimination, and encouraging people with mental health issues to take action. Activism made by these campaigns is seen in the form of education in schools or the workplace, as information spread through media, as the creation of resources to support people with mental illnesses, and as empowerment. Gathering personal testimonies has also been central to the campaigns and has helped people tell their stories while raising awareness. In addition, Time to Change was able to develop significant projects like the comedy tour “Laughing for Change” and “Time to Change Global”, which reached Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and India
Me Too Movement
Ana María Sarria, Sophia Flórez, Isabella Silva, and Juan Fernando Ávila
The MeToo movement has gained popularity throughout the years. It started in 2006, when Tarana Burke, used #MeToo to denounce her case of sexual harrasment via MySpace. At the time, the agent group was men and the target group were women of color. As the movement grew, more people joined and shared their stories, expanding both target and agent groups, as anyone can be a target or an agent of sexual abuse since it is not determined by gender.
The #MeToo movement’s main form of activism is social media. The main network for the movement is Twitter. Women have come forward to accuse powerful men of harassment and misconduct. Many celebrities have also used this platform to express their concern and experiences. The #MeToo is now known all around the world generating protests which have had an influence. Thousands of people have gathered to protest in cities like Los Angeles and Sydney. The #MeToo movement serves as a platform for people who have been sexually assaulted or abused to report their abusers and start healing from their experience.
Never Again Action Movement
Camilo Salazar, Sergio Pradilla, Samuel Bueno, and Juan Andrés Van Hissenhoven
Never Again Action is a movement that fights for migrants’ rights in the United States. In this country, migration is a controversial topic when it comes to regulations and public opinion. This movement aims to end direct discrimination by those who are against immigration and those who marginalize immigrants. They also fight against organizations that segregate and discriminate against immigrants. This movement was founded in Michigan under the leadership of Serena Alderstein in 2019. She created a Facebook group, remembering her family history about immigrants from the Holocaust who were held captive, to advocate for the human rights of immigrants who are undocumented and held in detention centers. The first statement of the organization gathered protesters fighting against inhuman treatment in detention centers. One of the movement’s central ideas is that “America doesn’t have an immigration system; it has a deportation system.” Never Again Action is a movement that is growing to spread the truth about the discrimination of migrants.
The third grade English teachers, María Fernanda Rojas, Cristina Lares and Michelle Rondón, led the activity of creating short plays and performing them in their classes. First, the students listened to and read plays about animals. They identified messages and morals related to empathy, trust, honesty, gratitude and consistent work. Afterwards, they wrote their own scripts through which they answered the essential question of the unit: “What can we learn from animal stories?”.
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