STAND-no-bylineHave you ever heard of the club STAND? When I first entered high school, I did not know much about the clubs and organizations at my school. Therefore it took me a while to realize what STAND was and the purpose of their organization.

Just recently, STAND hosted a Human Rights Day where a handful of students, including myself, wore bright orange t-shirts with a random number painted on it. Right above the number, in bold black paint, was the phrase “Ask me about 100k”. Every person got a different number that represented a random statistic about horrible things that have happened or are currently happening in the world. My number, 100K, represented the number of people who died during the Bosnian genocide. The purpose of having a Human Rights Day is to spread awareness of the things that are happening around the world. It was easy to spot people with bright orange shirts so a lot of people came up to us to ask about our number. Not only did this spread the word about STAND but it also spread awareness about different events and statistics.

After learning about many unbelievable statistics throughout the day, I went home and began to look into what the club was about and how it contributed to society in general. I learned that STAND is a student-led movement to end mass atrocities. They aim to spread awareness and to empower individuals to not let history repeat itself. Just like the club at my school, many students have organized STAND groups in order to educate others in their communities and make sure their voices are heard.

If you are interested in social justice and want your voice to be heard about certain situations that are happening around the world, then STAND is the organization to join. You can go on the website and find STAND organizations that are near you. By joining a club, you will be able to attend their meetings and take part in certain events. After joining a STAND organization, you can also call one of your elected officials in order to inform them about social justice topics that you feel strongly about. However if you do not have a club like this at your school or nearby, make one! Start off by learning more about the organization’s goals and how you can contribute. Then, research some social justice topics that you feel strongly about, such as child labor, children’s rights, famine, global warming, poverty etc. After picking a few topics, find other friends who would want to know more about that topic or feel strongly about it.  Finally set up a time and place where you guys can meet and start discussing ideas and goals for how your group can contribute to STAND’s goals.

If you do join a STAND organization, or start your own club at school keep in mind the most important aspect of this club is raising awareness. Make sure to talk about what you have learned, and tell people the importance of this club and continue to educate yourself about the world we live in!