December 7, 2018 – Oxford College is experiencing a renaissance in activism organizations on campus, with two new student-led groups beginning this week to discuss and raise awareness for national and global leaders. SPEAR, Students for Prison Education, Activism, and Resistance, is a student-led body to raise awareness regarding mass incarceration. Amnesty International is a seperate student organization to raise awareness regarding global and national human rights violations, including but not limited to police brutality, migrant rights, and torture.
“Amnesty International is a worldwide organization with over seven million members,” Co-Preisdent William Schmidt stated, commenting on the extensive network Amnesty International already has. “The work we do is invaluable.”
This “work” being planned by Amnesty International includes letter writing campaigns, hosting speakers, and running a newsletter. The overall goal is to raise awareness for the harsh human rights conditions in some parts of the world such as Myanmar.
But the activism Amnesty International seeks to employ does not simply stretch to a global and national level. The activities being planned will also seek to raise awareness for issues regarding human rights at home in Covington, Georgia.
“The Covington community has a lot of institutionalized inequality, and many Oxford students do not realize that,” William Schmidt noted, discussing the track-record of poor access to education, food, and clean water within the local community. “Students are unaware of that because we are so engrossed in our work; we simply wish to raise awareness and discuss avenues for change.”
There is a genuine passion on campus for this work, as seen with the large amount of participation in activism and international organizations on campus already. Amnesty International is seeking to explore an unresolved gap within these already formed groups, and address an issue that has not been properly discussed by our student body
This will not be the only opportunity for students to discuss human rights violations, or to work with Amnesty International on their quest to raise awareness through a variety of mediums. Current Co-Presidents William Schmidt and Noah Taylor hope to run another interest meeting after winter break as they explore chartering the organization.
Both co-presidents were given an opportunity to entice our readership to come to this meeting. They both gave a resounding and clear answer. “Join because we are looking to be a positive voice for change in Covington and the wider world.”