This interview was conducted over email with Sarah Kane, a junior studying Public Policy with a minor in History and a certificate in Human Rights, by Miranda Gershoni, a second-year undergraduate student working for the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Miranda Gershoni (MG): When did you join the SAB and why?

Sarah Kane (SK): I joined the SAB in the fall of my freshman year. I had discovered the Human Rights Certificate during Blue Devil Days and knew I wanted to pursue it, and when I saw SAB at the Fall Activities Fair, I felt that joining it would compliment the certificate perfectly.

MG: What is the mission of the SAB?

SK: Our mission is to advocate for human rights by educating ourselves and spreading awareness to the broader Duke community about particular human rights issues on both the national and international stages.

MG: How do y’all (excuse my inner Texan lol) execute that mission?

SK: In the fall semester, we focus on internal events for the SAB in which we educate ourselves about human rights issues. We organize lunches and discussions with FAB members and guest speakers, visit the Pauli Murray house, and attend and promote FHI events.

The Spring Semester is focused on hosting events for the greater Duke community, including but not limited to documentary screenings and panel discussions. Our biggest event of the year, “Global Ideas, Local Impact,” takes place in the spring and comprises of an alumni panel and student research slam.

MG: What are some of your past projects? (highlights maybe)

SK: Last spring, we held a screening for 120 Years, which is a documentary about the wrongful conviction of Scott Lewis. We chose this particular documentary because it was created by students at Yale University, and we wanted to promote the fantastic work of fellow college students. After the screening, we had a discussion with Dawn Blasgrove from the Carolina Justice Policy Center.

In the fall of 2017, Darren Zammit Lupi, a Malta-based photojournalist and humanitarian, spoke to the SAB. He spoke about the impact of documentary photography and media advocacy on behalf of vulnerable populations, notably migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This helped us think a lot about how photography can lend itself to particular purposes and messages.

MG: What are you currently working on?

SK: Early on in the semester, we are simply reviewing applications for new board members and thinking about what some of our first meetings might focus on. Much of our agenda will depend on what human rights issues new members wish to explore or learn more about.

We are also working to promote two events about migration and the US-Mexico border, which will surely be a focus of our work this year.

MG: What potential do you see in the new group of students this year?

SK: I have met a lot of people who expressed interest in joining SAB and many of them seem to be very passionate about particular issues, which is wonderful! SAB can be very effective when we can identify specific topics we want to spread awareness about.

MG: Why do you think it’s essential to have the SAB on the Duke campus? (accountability, awareness?)

SK: It gets students engaged in both educating themselves about things that they are passionate about and spreading awareness of those issues to the broader Duke community.

SAB also provides a chance for its members, as well as others in the Duke community to connect with human rights practitioners to learn about their work and perhaps think about potential career pathways.

MG: What would you like students or staff (or anyone) to know about the SAB?

SK: We’re always looking to highlight human rights issues that are not addressed thoroughly on campus or in mainstream media. If you’re passionate about a particular and want to see an event about it, or even if you have some expertise in human rights and want to share that knowledge, we’d love for you to reach out!

MG: What do you plan to do after you graduate? (if you don’t have a clear-cut plan yet, maybe just a vague vision for the future)

SK: I’m not totally sure of my plans, but I want to work in the non-profit sector, preferably at an organization focusing on international affairs and human rights.

MG: How do you think your work on the SAB will prepare you for life after Duke?

SK: SAB has given me the advantage of learning about a lot of human rights issues, which has helped to find particular subjects that I would like to focus on in my post-Duke career. Hearing the experiences of human rights practitioners has also given me insight into what it is like to work in the field, as well as what types of careers I might or might not enjoy.

MG: Why should students join the SAB?

SK: Being a part of SAB is a great way to learn about important issues and meet incredible people who are very passionate about their work. If you have an interest in human rights, this is the student group for you.