The Human Rights Institute declared the week of Feb. 25 through March 1 as Say Something Week. This week was designed to educate the Kean community on issues like bullying, bystanding and exclusion. The hope was for students to understand how their actions affect others and how the signs that something could be dangerous to an individual or the community may present themselves.
The week began with a Start with Hello photo booth in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Atrium, where students were able to take pictures with their friends with props and quality cameras. Students were excited to walk by and see the table of props and the booth. They were able to keep the photos and choose how they received it.
The Say Something Call to Action Day took place Tuesday, Feb. 26 and invited students to listen about the dangers of not recognizing warning signs. The students gathered in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Little Theater and listened to a presentation that went over the different warning signs and signals that something is going on with someone. When individuals are unable to see the signs that is how tragedies happen especially those that involve gun violence, which was a major topic of discussion for the event.
The presentation was heavily inspired and promoting of the Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization created by the families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting Dec. 14, 2012. Their goal and mission is to prevent gun-related violence and death, whether it be from shootings, crime, suicide or mishandling.
The Say Something Call to Action presentation included many videos created by the Sandy Hook Promise that focus on recognizing signs before it becomes too late and raise awareness of these issues. Too often people are passive with the signs they come in contact with and are quick to dismiss potential threats because they think nothing can happen. It is important that when one sees something they say something in an effort to not only protect themselves but also each other.
Here are the three steps to saying something:
- Look for warning signs, signals and threats
- Act immediately and take it seriously
- Say something to a trusted adult
The presentation went into the integral part social media plays in the sending of threats. Thirty-seven percent of threats of violence were sent electronically and 28 percent of those threats were sent through social media. This statistic was explained further by going over the different things on social media that can be taken as a threat of gun violence.
The next day was Wear Green Wednesday, where the community wore green to honor and show support for the Sandy Hook community and acknowledge the lives lost from gun violence. Also on this day students were able to attend the Step Up: Bystander Intervention event. At this event, students were educated on the dangers of standing by and ignoring signs, signals and threats or not taking them seriously. As children, people learned that being a bystander is just as bad as being a bully and a step up from that is not saying something that could have saved lives.
On Thursday Feb. 28, Random Act of Kindness Day served as an encouragement for everyone in the community to go out of their way to do something nice for someone else. Random acts of kindness could make a huge impact on someone's day or even begin new friendships. Being a stranger who was kind can prove that the world is not all bad, and it could prevent a tragedy. Following Random Act of Kindness Day was No One Eats Alone Friday, which closed out the Say Something Week with a pizza party where everyone is invited to get to know one another and no one is excluded.
Housed in the Nancy Thompson Library, the Human Rights Institute at Kean was established to shine a light on human rights issues and violations across the globe in hopes of inspiring the next generation of activists to create a more just and peaceful world.
Kean University is passionate about raising awareness for human rights and educating students on the atrocities that have plagued the world. This week was an opportunity for the Kean community to become more educated on a prevalent issue that they should try to prevent with their new knowledge.
For more information about the Human Rights Institute and its upcoming events, visit their website or call (908) 737-4872.