By MARIA GARCIA
On Saturday, Feb. 10, UMW will be hosting lecturer Mohamed Yahya, the executive director for the Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, a non-partisan organization that promotes human rights in Darfur, Sudan, and elsewhere in the world.
SSTOP (Students Stopping the Trafficking of People) believed that Mr. Yahya would be an excellent person to host at UMW because not only would he promote awareness of the crisis in Darfur, but also, since February is Black History Month, he would raise awareness about modern-day slavery.
During Black History Month in the United States, people typically celebrate the fact that slavery is a thing of the past. In public school, children learn about the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman, Jim Crow Laws (and the abolition of these said laws) and about the civil rights movement.
At UMW, the students have been made to appreciate the work done in the past out of respect to the legacy left behind by James Farmer. Regardless of the fact that we are one of the most homogenous colleges in the U.S.
Many get caught up in the romantic notion that slavery is in the past. In Africa and other countries around the world, even in the U.S., people are still being denied their freedom and their basic human right by being enslaved.
And while people of African descent are still being persecuted, people of other races are also being enslaved. Whether it be young women from Eastern Europe, child soldiers in Africa, immigrant farm workers from Latin America or children from Asia, people need to acknowledge the fact that slavery still exists.
The most powerful tool that exist is knowledge. At 5 p.m. in Great Hall, Mohamed Yahya will speak on behalf on the people in Darfur and elsewhere that are suffering, which will be followed by the first viewing of “Invisible Children,” a documentary about child soldiers in Uganda. Yes, we realize that it is a Saturday event, but the knowledge gained at this event has the power to spread beyond you.
For more info go to damanga.com, slaverystillexists and invisiblechildren.com.