Written by Kim Furlow, Institute for Public Health
From research to planning events and outreach, the Student Advisory Council (SAC) at the Center for Human Rights, Gender & Migration is a busy group. The students all agree that their desire to join the SAC stems from a passion for eliminating inequality and an undaunted determination to achieve justice for all.
We recently interviewed several members of the SAC to learn their perspectives on the most pressing human rights issues of our time, and, based on their work with the Center, what expertise they hope to bring to future career endeavors.
Featured SAC Members:
PhD candidate ’22 in English
Graduate certificate in Woman,
Gender & Sexuality Studies
*What do you hope to learn or accomplish as a member of the Student Advisory Council at the Center for Human Rights, Gender and Migration?
Lacy: I hope to gain research skills, insights into current issues in the field, and an opportunity to work with students from other schools. I have reviewed literature related to the impacts of conflict-related sexual violence and have learned about regions and experts working on such impacts in the field around the world. I have also been able to build relationships with students from the law school, which has been extremely gratifying.
Ashley: I hope to gain a stronger understanding of how the intersecting issues of human rights, gender, migration, and international justice can help provide a framework for creating international migration policy initiatives that safeguard the legal rights of migrants.
Mack: I want to learn about making changes that are interdisciplinary in nature. Issues surrounding human rights do not fit neatly into one type of degree, so I am excited to be a part of a center that looks at issues holistically.
Young: I hope to learn about intersecting issues of human rights, gender and migration through the center and other members of the SAC. It’s a great opportunity to connect with students and faculty from different disciplines and come together regarding human rights, gender and migration.
*How do you hope to address human rights, gender or migration issues in your future work or career?
Lacy: After graduation from the Brown School, I plan to work in advocacy on refugee resettlement and immigration issues. I want to ensure that government policies regarding migration uphold the dignity of all persons. Additionally, I hope to work with communities directly to enhance integration, accessibility of social services, and organize communities to directly advocate to policymakers on migration issues.
Ashley: As a PhD student, I research refugee girlhood in anglophone literature, and I analyze how girl refugees navigate various patriarchal and national sites of regulation, confinement and violence. Through the paradigm of refugee girlhood, I seek to learn how literary depictions of Post-World War II transnational movements challenge modern conceptions of sovereignty, rights and citizenship.
Mack: In the future, I hope to work with survivors of human trafficking using trauma-informed approaches.
Young: Through a macro-level lens, I hope to address issues around migration in humanitarian or development sectors.
*In your opinion, what is the most pressing human rights issue today?
Lacy: I think that long-term displacement situations, which have left generations without robust access to education, work or basic human needs, are an urgent concern. The burden of the global failure to resolve conflicts and develop solutions rests on the shoulders of millions of families who are unable to experience their full human rights with dignity. Political action is required for the protection of human rights, and thus, it is critical that states commit to ending conflict, providing robust care for refugees and internally displaced persons, and determining stable solutions to ensure refugees can return home and be safe.
Ashley: I think the most pressing human rights issue today is racial and economic inequity. From the state policing of communities of color in the United States, to the international erasure of refugees’ entitlement to rights, it’s clear that the criminalization of racialized bodies and poverty creates racist and xenophobic policies on both the domestic and international spheres.
Mack: In my opinion, human trafficking is the most pressing human rights issue today. We do not even know the extent of it locally, much less nationally or internationally.
Young: I think in terms of the rights of people on the move (migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs) there should be not only protection of their rights but also their overall wellbeing.
The Student Advisory Council (SAC) at the Center for Human Rights, Gender & Migration works closely with center management on research assignments, event planning, and outreach to the WashU and St. Louis community. They provide critical guidance to center leadership on engaging the university’s vibrant student community. Students interested in joining the SAC can apply to do so here.