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Q&A with The Human Rights Student Association

The Mission and Events of HRSA
February 27, 2020

The Human Rights Student Association (HRSA) is an organization which serves the campus community by hosting events that aim to enhance international knowledge. They are an interdiscpinilary group which hosts a variety of engaging activities throughout the academic year. In this interview, we asked HRSA about their motivation to work for the undergraduate student body and some background on their recent events. 

HRSA’s last event was in collaboration with the Minnesota Pre-Law Society about knowing your rights with police interactions. Tell us a bit about what this event consisted of. What was your main takeaway from the event?

I think one of the biggest take-aways I got out of the event was hope. We had a great turn out for this event and seeing students come prepared with great questions and a willingness to get involved was really inspiring. Another big take away I had from our discussions was to pay more attention to the human rights atrocities happening within our communities. Sumaya Aden was one of our speakers and she talked to me before the event about how we hear these stories about police brutality on TV and never suspect it is happening around us or that it could happen to someone we know until it is too late. We all need to be more active in the fight to end police brutality and police murders while also learning what rights we do have when interacting with police.

The themes of events held by HRSA are very inclusive and intersectional. How do you choose the basis for your events?

We choose the events mostly based on the declaration of human rights and some human rights days from the UN's calendar. Otherwise, we choose events based on relevancy to students here and for topics we think haven't been talked about enough. This year we have also taken a step to work within a better social justice framework and we are trying to work out ways to better incorporate ways outside of our monthly events for students to get involved in human rights work.

What is your group’s mission in relation to human rights?

Our mission is to promote engagement between undergraduate students, the Human Rights Program, and other human rights organizations with the goal of advancing human rights domestically and internationally. In doing so we also hope to help cultivate a community of activists and allies that will move our communities forward no matter what their undergrad degree or future job may be.

What are some upcoming events we should be looking out for?

March 25th will be our Never Forget: The Slave Trade event from 6:00-7:30 in Appleby 3 we will have food catered from Breaking Bread Cafe! --- EDIT: Upcoming HRSA events (including the March 25th event) are postponed until further notice in accordance with the CDC due to the evolving COVID-19 situation.