Voice for the Nameless
Our very own Maine West Community has eagerly been serving as a platform to promote human rights for the past ten years. Originating from an extra credit field trip organized by Mr. Harper, Voice for the Nameless serves as an avenue to speak for individuals who may not have the opportunity to do so.
Reflecting on its origin, Mr. Harper shared that he took some of his students to a viewing regarding human trafficking. He expressed that “students didn’t know much about trafficking, but the movie hit them. These girls came to me and said, ‘What can we do? We can do something about this, right?’ It started with 5 of us and it gradually grew.”
This organization pioneers for human rights, with its main mission to spread awareness about the inalienable human rights we all possess. The focus of the organization is to emphasize and exercise the following concepts: awareness, advocacy, and action. Awareness is the first step, in spreading awareness about human rights issues. Advocating is when the young leaders speak out in support of human rights. Lastly, action is what the group does collectively or individually to protect the rights of others.
“Being a member for Voice is an experience unlike any other club. It opens your eyes to the reality of the world and makes you aware. It gives us the power to change the world we live in,” senior Abdi Mustafa said.
Moreover, the organization also takes action to promote its mission through volunteering within the local communities. Many students have had the opportunity to connect with Inspiration Corporation, an organization that aims to aid the underserved in the Chicagoland area. To add, students have also served Refugee One, a Chicago based organization that provides support and assistance for refugee settlement.
When speaking to students who work with Voice for the Nameless, junior Laura Okrzesik shared, “It’s an organization where you have people supporting others, doing the same thing everywhere. We’re all fighting for a common, meaningful goal. You can really make a difference. You’re not alone.¨
In addition to connecting with the local Chicagoland community, Voice for the Nameless works diligently to promote human rights within the global community as well. With the help of Amnesty International, a global organization focused on human rights, Voice for the Nameless successfully hosted the Write for Rights event. This event focuses upon global cases in which individuals have been denied basic human rights. The global cases are then shared with students, who write to figures petitioning for the release and support of those whose rights have been stripped away. Just last year, students wrote about Tanner and the Istanbul Ten being imprisoned in Turkey. These individuals were arrested for serving as human rights activists. Nonetheless, it was the powerful and compelling letters written by the students that brought these individuals justice, as they were released from being imprisoned.
“Everybody is human and everybody deserves rights no matter what color or gender they are. If those rights are violated in anyway, it’s our responsibility as humans to step up and take action,” Voice member junior Chloe White said.