A Focus on Human Rights

by Michelle Park '08

World hunger. Poverty. Health care. Justice. These issues are plaguing the world today, and APU students want to know how they can respond.

During Azusa Pacific's annual Justice Week, hosted by the Office of Ministry and Service, various programs and events focused on human rights issues on both a local and global level to educate the community about the current state of these issues, as well as present some ways they can help.

U.S. Ambassador and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Tony Hall addressed students during chapel about world poverty, international human rights conditions, and hunger relief programs.

A film screening of the documentary, The Price of Sugar, a fundraiser event for APU's Dominican Republic summer missions team, revealed the cruel living and working conditions of illegal Haitian workers in the bateyes (sugar plantations) of the Dominican Republic.

A Matheteis Forum addressed health care in America. Dr. Todd Westra of Kaiser Permanente, Department of Social Work co-chair Mary Rawlings, and senior political science major Ryan Tiede were among the panelists that shared and discussed the present state of the health care system in the U.S., as well as the pros, cons, and potential solutions.

The week concluded on Saturday with a special visit from the current Chaplain of the United States Senate, Rear Admiral Barry Black, who spoke to the APU community about servant leadership in the public arena.

“Justice Week was an important event for APU because it allowed students to see that our lives here have a significant impact on the world,” said Jenny Elsey, associate director of ministry and service. “One of our greatest hopes is for students to understand the connection between their faith and social justice, and to expose students to the issues and conditions around the world.”