On the behalf of Pine View’s club Save Darfur, otherwise known as Students Working Against Genocide, Dr. Ellen Kennedy, founder and executive director of World Without Genocide, spoke to high-school students about refugee issues at 1:00 p.m. in the auditorium Feb. 24. During the presentation, Kennedy discussed the importance of human rights and how its deficiency affects the entire planet.
Kennedy was originally prompted to speak at Pine View by World Without Genocide committee members, Rabbi Simon and Rona Simon, whom initially suggested to Save Darfur’s club president, twelfth-grader Nicole Uthuppan, to host Kennedy as a guest speaker. “[Kennedy] raises awareness of the violation of human rights occurring right now around the world,” Uthuppan said. This is the second year Kennedy has spoken on behalf of human rights and genocide at schools recommended by the Simons. The Simons originally reached out to Uthuppan after learning about her club and wanting to make a greater impact on the community.
“Our committee works with other nearby organizations who work against genocide, especially now with subjects to discuss such as genocide, refugees and immigration,” Rabbi Kennedy said. “We fundraise often and send 100% of the proceeds to charity.” This is the tenth year in which the World Without Genocide committee has put on major events to support human rights across the community, and the second year Kennedy has spoken on behalf of human rights and genocide as part of the Simon’s committee.
Throughout the speech, Kennedy described the hate she feels surrounds the world’s resentment for specific peoples such as Xenophobia, the fear or dislike of people from other countries, and Islamophobia, the fear or dislike of Muslims and followers of Islam. Kennedy especially made the point to call the United States to take action against such hate and help refugees who are forced to leave their homes. “America has taken in less than .5% of the refugees who are fleeing from Syria,” Kennedy said. “Why aren’t we taking action to help such people?”
With the recent presidential inauguration, Kennedy also spoke her view about President Donald Trump’s immigration ban from seven countries in the Middle East and in Africa: Libya, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. “These people need our help, and the U.S. has no right to take that freedom away,” Kennedy said.
Save Darfur meets Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. in Dr. Dean’s room.