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Panelists raise awareness about human rights issues

January 23, 2015


human-rights-panelistsA human rights educator and activist last night challenged the Stephens community to be aware of issues happening in the community.
“Consider the dignity of everyone you interact with,” Nanette Ward said. “No human being should be a commodity.”
Ward is a founding member of the Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition. She was one of several panelists on the #HumanRights365 Panel Discussion sponsored by the Stephens College Diversity Coalition as part of Diversity Week. Other panelists included Ryan Gill, a board member for Welcome Home; Dedan Githegi, a Kenyan native who now works with refugees at Douglass High School; Scott Dean, chair of the Columbia Human Rights Commission; Dr. Amanda Murdie, an associate professor at the University of Missouri who specializes in the behavior of non-governmental organization; and Emily Cross, president of The Human Experience at Stephens. Dr. Tina Parke-Sutherland, a professor at Stephens, moderated the discussion.
Topics included a wide range of human rights issues such as human trafficking; homelessness among veterans; the challenges refugees face; and gender and sexual orientation issues. The event ended with students asking panelists ways in which they can help.

Dean encouraged students to be proactive if they see or hear anything that might indicate someone’s rights are being violated. “Remember your sphere of influence,” he said.

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