Social Justice, Human Rights and the Media


[music] We live in a dark world of human trafficking, such as child sex, prostitution, slave labor, and even organ and tissue sales. But the media can shine light on the darkness. [Human right and the right of human beings…] A new class at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln gives students a deeper awareness of injustice around the world. The concept came from Maria Marron, dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Sriyani Tidball teaches “Social Justice, Human Rights and the Media.” She’s been an activist against human trafficking in the U.S. and Sri Lanka. She also organizes UNL’s annual international research conference on human trafficking. The class was created too late to be included in the annual course catalog, but registrations soon exceeded the 120-seat capacity of the auditorium a the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. After the first meeting, more than 20 students stood in line to thank Tidball for creating the class. I’ve been teaching for eight years and nobody lines up to say thanks. I really know that students really want to be a part of the change they want to see today. I just see such true passion among young people who are saying we’re tired of injustice, is there any way we can be a part of making a change. Sydney Heineman is interested in social justice and government. She says members of the Millennial generation have to be prepared to solve the world’s problems. We’re gonna be the new generation. We really need to know about all the problems in America as well as the other countries around the world. In addition to human trafficking, Tidball plans to address other human rights issues, including injustices faced by American Indians, African Americans and immigrants. I have to to tell you, I have got totally stoked about teaching this class. Because as I was working on it, I realized this is my dream, to be able to talk to many people about these issues. Especially people who choose to come here because they want to know about it. At first I was a little skeptical because it is such a touchy subject with a lot of people and so awkward to talk about. Wahl says Tidball’s passion ignites his interest in social justice. He worries about the future. The upcoming generation, the people still in high school, people still in middle school, I feel like we’re setting it up for them to make it a better United States, better world in general. It’s something people need to see and need to hear about. It’s definitely the journalists’ role to show the world, to tell the people what is going on. I really do want to use my power to use my power to really change the world if I can. [music]

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