Mandela for Peace: School celebrates human rights

Mandela+for+Peace%3A+School+celebrates+human+rights

Anita Gilliam-Smiley

   Mandela High School’s Law & Public Service Academy gave a series of multi-media  performances on Dec. 10 to mark the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

   The event took place from 10 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. in the Fremont Federation of High Schools auditorium. 

   “It was an opportunity to increase awareness of problems that are never brought up to the public,” said Julio Madrigal, a Mandela senior.

   Mandela students used poetry, dance, music, film and photography to speak on police brutality, racial profiling and the discrimination that immigrants face.

   Students were able to make performances that showed the hardships they face on a daily basis.

   “It was student-centered, exciting, original work, and students came away learning something about each other and their rights,” said Ellen Salazar, Mandela’s student program coordinator.

    Students like Madrigal were glad to be able to bring up issues that feel usually are neglected.

   “I feel that environmental racism is a problem that we have neglected for a long time, and we should expose it to the low-income communities,” said Madrigal.

   The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on Dec.10, 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly.

   One of the performances was a student who spoke about how difficult it is to deal with his mother being in prison while looking the injustice he feels occurred when former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle was sentenced to only two years in prison for shooting the unarmed Oscar Grant.

   The performances were made to influence change, and that it just what it caused for Nancy Pich.

   “It changed me, there has to be a change,” said Pich, a junior.

   Principal Robin Glover was pleased with the event.

   “It addressed rights that students should have,” said Glover.

   Students at Mandela, which was named after human rights activist Nelson Mandela, wanted to demonstrate that the first step to stopping negative issues in their community is by realizing they are there.