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Illustration by Maren Slobody
Illustration by Maren Slobody

Correction: The verb in the headline of this article “Empower” has been corrected from past to present tense.

Students from over 20 organizations on campus are coming together for a week of spreading human rights awareness on May 13–17.

Representatives from Legal Education Association for Diversity (LEAD), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan, African Student Union, African Black Student Alliance and Sigma Lambda Beta — a multicultural fraternity on campus — are organizing and leading daily demonstrations and evening events concerned with current social issues that affect communities of color.

The week will consist of demonstrations in Quarry Plaza from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. regarding issues like racial profiling, the dangers of misrepresentation in the media, abuses in the workplace, the prison industrial complex, immigration and combating xenophobia.

“All our members have personal connections to these issues,” said a representative for LEAD and one of the principal organizers, second-year John Alcala. “These are humanitarian causes. Little is getting done to get people emotionally invested in these issues.”

The organizations and students involved in the planning look to raise visibility of social issues and to open lines of communication between ethnic and student organizations on campus. The committee of representatives, which includes ethnic resource centers, Rainbow Theatre, Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), Sin Barras and many other organizations look to encourage an interpersonal connection through poetry, testimonials, artistic expression and speakers to facilitate discussion during the evening events, to be held at on-campus locations.

“It’s about bringing communities together to show that we can work together in solidarity,” second-year Alfonso Quintero, a principle organizer. “We have to show each other that we are not alone and that we’re here for each other. We want to transform a bunch of individuals into a community.”