New academic series promotes human rights

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Nunzia Martino

 

Illinois Wesleyan University offers a new 3D programming series, which gives the campus community different opportunities to engage in learning about social justice and human rights.

The 3D: Diversity, Dignity, and Dialogue Thursday series extends throughout the school year and encourages the campus community to learn about culture and custom. Students have the chance to attend events including a human rights workshop, various lectures from special guests and other interactive opportunities.

According to Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Brandon Common, the 3D series addresses diversity and invites dialogue in ways that emphasize the importance of dignity for all people.

Common said, “It places diversity and difference at the center of discourse with the overall goal of addressing these tough issues with the highest regard of dignity for everyone in our community.”

An important aspect to the series is allowing students to self-identify what they will not stand for, a program adopted from the USA Network. They will be able to take part in activities such as Bystander Training in order to assess and learn how to confront inappropriate situations.

According to the USA Network’s official site, “The I Won’t Stand For…movement is about sending a message to the world that no one should stand idly by in the face of racism, bullying, religious intolerance, sexism, homophobia, ableism or any other form of discrimination.”

Junior Molly Willeford attended the “Dirty Wars” screening and described the film, which was produced by Anthony Arnove, as “eye opening.”

Willeford said, “I think it’s really important what the 3D series is doing. They are raising awareness about important issues on campus. I love what the organization stands for, and I can’t wait to see what else they have to offer.”

Upcoming events for the 3D series include speakers such as Illinois Wesleyan Professor of History Mike Weis and transgender speaker and Chicago-based sportswriter Christina Kahrl.

Professor Weis, who will discuss the impact that the fall of the Berlin Wall had on Cuba and the Caribbean area, said, “What I would hope is that students who attend the conference will begin to see that almost every event has a ripple effect and that the end of the Cold War affected not only our society, but the rest of the world as well. Beginning to make those connections is what we try to do at this University.”

Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Life Matthew Damschroder is excited about the program and believes that it will help students to build their multicultural capacity, which he says is a critical part of the IWU mission.

“Each of these 3D programs attempts to explore a different aspect of diversity through dialogue and with dignity.  The series offers an incredibly rich breadth of topics and conversation to allow students to build on what they already know or have experienced and unpack things that they haven’t yet encountered,” Damschroder said. “These opportunities are individually and cumulatively valuable and it will have real benefits for students who take part.”