Southridge High School Students Protest Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill
Rhonda J Mangus | January 23, 2010 at 03:21 amby
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"They've only been exposed to reading about Africa through textbooks," said Sean Mailey, a history teacher. "This gives them a chance to study about Africa in a real way."
Students got more exposure last year when four Ugandan students spent nearly three weeks at Southridge. In 2008, a group of Southridge students and staff visited St. Andrew's to help build a science lab for the private school, where about half the students are orphans of a parent who died of HIV or AIDS.
Senior Evy Lopez, who grew up in Lesotho, South Africa, said she is worried about all of the children who would be affected by the bill, including her Ugandan friends who have parents living with AIDS.
"It feels like another Holocaust to me," said Lopez, who is helping plan the rally. "It feels like we are cleansing out the people who are different from us."
The rally's theme is "Respect Humanity," a concept that learning specialist Rich Matkins emphasized when he coordinated a schoolwide survey in 2007 polling students on safety and tolerance of everything from race to gender. One of his findings: 83 percent of students never stood up for their peers who were being bullied.
"We all need to step up to the plate and develop sensitivity and compassion for people who are different than us," said Matkins, Gay-Straight Alliance adviser.
Students in the alliance, Uganda Club and leadership class are planning the event. Momentum has grown as students sent invitations, submitted permits to the city and began fielding media requests. A Facebook event page shows 350 people saying they will attend.
More information on Southridge High School's Respect Humanity: Uganda March and Rally, here. Or, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take Action: Tell Uganda To Respect Human Rights And Dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill
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