Blinded to spark discussion on diversity at BU
By Taylor Rexrode
Blinded, hosted by Baylor’s International Justice Mission and Student Government, will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 18, in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.
Blinded is an open forum that brings together students and faculty from across the university to talk about diversity issues, including race, sexuality, religion and socioeconomic status. Students are blindfolded and then put in small groups to talk about these topics without knowing the identity of other group members.
Faculty members lead the discussions and are not blindfolded. These facilitators rotate to other groups to start new topics.
Woodville sophomore Kristyn Miller believes the blindfolds help to bring equality and comfort to each small group.
“The blindfold breaks down a metaphorical wall that you can’t see past,” Miller said. “When you are taking away vision, you’re more apt to give a more personal testament of yourself. Ideally, it will break down the barriers of these students and their insecurities so they can talk more openly.”
Justice Week will continue the rest of the week by raising awareness for people oppressed around the world.
Students will have the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Katariina Rosenblatt from 6 to 8 p.m. March 19 in Barfield Drawing Room. Rosenblatt, a Truth Panel speaker through the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, will speak to attendees about the importance of social justice awareness, particularly in regards to human trafficking. According to their website, the Truth Panel honors Sojourner Truth and uses its collective voices “as a means of prevention, comfort and empowerment for those that have been trafficked for sex and labor exploitation and to keep those that haven’t from ever knowing this crime.” The Frederick Douglass Family Initiative is an apolitical and non-religious organization that works toward securing freedom for all people.
Rosenblatt endured human trafficking and domestic violence from ages 13 to 17 while living in Miami. She recently created There is H.O.P.E. For Me, a volunteer organization. H.O.P.E. stands for healing, opportunity, purpose and empowerment of sexual abuse victims.
The Justice Week feature on Wednesday, March 20, will be the Tunnel of Oppression from 6 to 10 p.m. on the second floor of the SUB. The tunnel will feature types of oppression, including racism, poverty, immigration and sex trafficking, portrayed artistically in skits, interpretive dance and spoken word.
“It’s going to be really artistic,” Houston senior Dalychia Saah, Justice Week chair, said. “It’s meant to see oppression in a different light.”
The event on Thursday, March 21, called Stand For Freedom, will last for 27 hours, from 1 p.m. Thursday through 4 p.m. on Fountain Mall. Students will take a stance against injustice by participating in all-night activities. Student organization Engineers with a Mission will also display four houses at Stand for Freedom to represent poverty in four different countries.
Chloe Toohey, co-adviser for Baylor’s International Justice Mission chapter through the office of community engagement and service, said the 27 hours have significance for remembering victims.
“You’re standing for 27 hours for the 27 million estimated slaves trafficked in the world today,” Toohey said.
Oso’s Frozen Yogurt at 215 Mary Ave. will host the final fundraiser for Justice Week from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday.
The majority of donations will be collected at Stand for Freedom but cash or check donations will be accepted throughout the week.
Baylor’s International Justice Mission chapter plans to raise $2,700 during the week. All proceeds will go to help victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of oppression through the International Justice Mission national office.
Toohey said these events are important to raise awareness and gain support for the International Justice Mission.
“You’ll see pockets of individuals that take an interest or have a passion for social justice issues,” Toohey said. “It’s really hard and there’s not an organization other than IJM that strictly focuses and makes such a powerful statement about the issues. Justice Week is a great time to culminate these issues and raise awareness and hopefully find those students and bring them into the mission.”
EDITORS NOTE: For this event we are not asking students to stand for 27 hours, the event is happening over a span of 27 hours and there will be speakers, musicians, games, etc during this time span which students can come and go as they please. We are asking students to come participated for as little or long as they like and to donate to the cause.