Students Reflect on the Institute on Memory and Human Rights

In September 2019, the inaugural cohort of the Institute on Memory and Human Rights—comprised of 10 students and 10 community leaders, along with three faculty and staff—participated in a two-day on-campus workshop followed by a four-day travel seminar to memorial and historical sites in Alabama, including the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The work of Chicago Torture Justice Memorials served as a local case study as the cohort explored the power and possibility of memory to foster justice in the face of racialized violence. 

The state needs us to accept and uplift this mythology in order to maintain the status quo, and it’s our responsibility to refuse it and expose the truth at every turn.” 
—Sophia Sarantakos, PhD’20 (SSA) Read Sophia’s full reflection.

Seeing the history of incarceration traced back to slavery, displayed with stories and images, cemented my goal to become a human rights lawyer.” 
—Ayo Idowu, AB’20 (Public Policy, Geography) Read Ayo’s full reflection.

Standing on the bridge, and especially standing among the trees beneath the bridge, large trees dripping with Spanish moss, it was impossible not to feel all those layers of history weighing on you at the same time.” 
—Noelle Petrowski, AM’20 (SSA) Read Noelle’s full reflection.

I have grown to realize this cohort is a family. We laughed together. We cried together. And we were inspired together.” 
—Mylon Patton, AB’22 (Political Science, Economics, Human Rights) Read Mylon’s full reflection.

As a native of a small town in middle Georgia, I knew there was a high probability that my home county might be represented among the 800 hanging monuments at the outdoor memorial in Montgomery, Alabama.” 
—Jordie Davies, PhD’21 (Political Science) Read Jordie’s full reflection.


Photographs taken by Daris Jasper during the inaugural Institute on Memory and Human Rights: