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Saturday, November 25, 2017

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‘UH Stands With Malala’ makes a statement on campus


On Tuesday, six postgraduate students stood outside the lawn of the Graduate School of Social Work to host ‘UH Stands With Malala’, an event advocating for women’s right to an education.

‘UH Stands With Malala’ was featured on Houston’s Snapchat story with 27.1 thousand views, retweeted on Twitter by the Malala Foundation and shared on Facebook by Nobel Women’s Initiative.

“The event was a huge success. I did not expect so many students to engage with us and stand in solidarity with the 60 plus million girls who do not have access to an education around the world,” social work postgraduate Devonte Hardy said.

“The comments that were written in support of standing up with Malala for the education of girls around the world were inspiring, thoughtful and empowering.”

As part of their assignment for their global justice course, the students had to advocate for a vulnerable group or raise awareness of a global issue. They chose the continuing global injustice toward women pursuing an education because it was timely with the newly released ‘He Named Me Malala’ film.

“As an extension of our event, we are making a call to action for all participants to pledge to see the movie for their own educational purposes,” said Claire Crawford, a social work postgraduate involved in the event.

“We hope students will be ignited with passion about educating girls after viewing the film and similarly feel empowered to make a difference.”

Members of the group showed their support at the event through several means: passing out ‘Take Action’ postcards with how to get involved, raffling ‘I am Malala’ novels, distributing bookmarks with statistics and giving speeches of women who fought for their education.

What caught most spectators’ eyes, however, was the mural of Malala Yousafzai illustrated on the eight-by-eight plywood by Houston artist Anat Ronen.

“This event is really good. It looks amazing and it is for such a great cause,” electrical engineering graduate Nima Mirzaeian said as he stood gazing at the piece in action.

“The event was phenomenal. We are really happy with how it came together and the impact we had on the UH community,” social work postgraduate Lauren Emmerson said.

Although other colleges could have partaken in this event, this group believes the fact that GCSW hosted it makes a difference.

“Social workers are experts in the problem, but one of the things we have to do is put ourselves out there and be on the forefront of solutions.” Hardy said.

“I think this event was important because it was our opportunity to come and say ‘Hey, this is the problem, but this is the solution,’ In that regard, it was a great learning experience. I think that social workers need to be that voice for change and start coming up with logical solutions that take fix social problems that we face today.”

Overall, the group felt their message of Malala and her ongoing battle for women’s right to education was relayed to the UH community effectively.

“She is empowering,” Crawford said. “I think that Malala is not looking for education just for herself -as she said in her Nobel Peace Prize winning speech- she is not one she is many. She speaks for a global-full of women and girls who need an education and she represents them. Being able to empower that many people through education is the most powerful tool to change the world.”

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