A blog written by our members about their experiences at community events.
By: Morgen Amalbert, Steve Barboza, Sarah Freeman, Lamisa Mustafa, and Kathy Pham
My Voice Has Power to Speak My Truth and Share My Light
The Human Rights Forum 2016-2017 school year officers, Ms. Hardy, Ms. Behnisch, Ms. Pairish, and alumni Ben Peillard attended the first ever Human Rights Dallas Summit, hosted by SMU's Embrey Human Rights Program, on Saturday, July 9th, 2016.
The first ever Human Rights Dallas Summit was a gathering of human rights leaders and activists from all over the metroplex to make our city a safer and fairer place for all residents to call home.
Here are our reflections of the historical event:
“In the wake of a tragedy, many people from the Dallas community came together to discuss arguably, the most important issues in our world today. People from all walks of life, students, teachers, residents, protesters, police officers, etc, came to put their ideas of how to spread awareness of human rights into effective action. I felt inspired the entire day. Just the day before, Friday, I was gloomy and sad because of the recent events in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and now, Dallas. I needed some hope and light in me and this conference did just that. It reminded me and many others in the room heartbroken with grief, that there is hope! There is work to be done! The people I talked to and met were so passionate about human rights and really wanted to put Dallas on the map as a “human rights city”. I left the conference with a renewed sense of hope and a new drive for human rights. In the words of Dr. Rick Halperin, SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Program Director, I wish to someday live in a world where ‘human rights is a part of everyday dialogue and conversation.’” -Lamisa Mustafa
“I really enjoyed the conference since it was filled with activists discussing issues and topics that are quite sensitive in our modern houses and schools. Yesterday's conference allowed me to intake and understand the perspectives of both the youth and adults in our community of Dallas. Also, I gained a greater understanding of how the adults in our community are planning on changing and increasing awareness of human rights in our town. For instance, implementing programs in schools and receiving funding from local businesses to raise awareness are ideas that I never thought of until the conference! Thus, I really enjoyed and appreciated the Human Rights Dallas Summit due to the ideas and changes that came upon not only me but also other activists in our community as well."
“This conference could not have been more eye-opening. Tragedy has continuously struck the American society for some time now, leaving the nation feeling lost and helpless. I’m personally tired of feeling powerless. This seminar not only provided me with emotional healing but also the appropriate tools to take action and mend the weakened branches of society. By illustrating the effectiveness of human rights agencies, programs, festivals, and collective efforts, Human Rights Dallas painted a picture for me. In that picture was a future filled with intrapersonal and interpersonal peace on a canvas where society coexisted in a harmonic state. Yes, the fight for this picture is a difficult one. However, Human Rights Dallas showed me that such a marvelous piece of art is not impossible to achieve.”
“I was so privileged to have shared this historic, momentous day with an extraordinary group of genuine, vulnerable, and diverse human rights advocates and my fellow Human Rights Forum officers in the midst of all the recent acts of hate. Being surrounded with those who were fighting for a difference reminded me that change is inevitable and that it was up to me and my peers to educate others and shine a light on the topic of humans rights so that change is inevitable. It reminded me that there is hope: that there are people out there who care. My voice has power to speak my truth and share my light: Giọng nói của tôi có quyền nói sự thật của tôi và chia sẻ ánh sáng của tôi. I hope for a future in which the community comes together regardless of social determinants to speak truth and shed light in honor for those who have suffered through tragedy.” -Kathy Pham
“Everyday, as new reports of bloodshed and utter desolation flood our phones, it is hard to remember that we are not alone in the crusade for human rights. The conference this weekend served as a powerful reminder that human rights issues not only matter to other people, but that other people are actually doing something about them. The conference afforded the opportunity to mingle with everyday activists, professors, and powerful agents for change. I felt free to discuss my thoughts with all I met and found a support group among complete strangers. I feel inspired to go out and make human rights a part of “normative dialogue,” in the words of Dr. Halperin. I encourage everyone to make these serious topics a vital part of conversation and plans for the future, so that as a city, a country, and a global community, we can make a real difference.” -Sarah Freeman
For more information about Human Rights Dallas itself, and for more pictures from the event, go here: Human Rights Dallas Summit
Human Rights Forum members