NCTC to host human rights program

Dr. Pat Ledbetter | Apr 19, 2019

NCTC will present the annual “Focus on Human Rights” program on Wednesday, May 1, in the Student Activities Center from 10:00 to 1:00.  Students enrolled in the college humanities course, Human Rights, will be joined by a variety of local organizations to share information about the work being done to improve quality of life in our community, our state, our nation and our world. 

Students in the course are required to select a human rights activist organization and follow its work for a semester. Then they prepare brochures and visual displays and set up tables on campus to distribute information about the group. According to Pat Ledbetter, who teaches the course, “My goal is to introduce them to the hard work necessary to achieve social change and to demonstrate that individuals, like them, can make a big difference.”

To demonstrate the power of individuals working together, the class invites local organizations to participate by passing out information and explaining their work to students and community members. Organizations such as Red Cross, Abigail’s Arms, CASA, Catholic Charities, Keep Texas Beautiful, Texas Youth Connection, Home Hospice, United Way, Child Protective Services, VISTO, Second Time Around, and Solum, CTI will be available to share their aspirations for our community. 

“For this project, we define ‘human rights’ very broadly,” said Ledbetter.  “Most of the students select national and international organizations, but I think that so widens the focus that we risk losing sight of what is being done in our own neighborhoods.  Many years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt, noted that human rights begin in “small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, and equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the large world.”  Our community has many men and women working every day toward that progress, both locally and globally.

The NCTC Honors Program will be hosting the Undergraduate Research Symposium on in the Activities Center on the same day and in a similar format.  Students will be presenting their research projects on a variety of topics, and the public is encouraged to attend. According to Honors Program Coordinator Jill Swarner, “Students’ semester long projects range from such topics as Sustainable Practices to Survive an Apocalypse to the DNA of Jellyfish. We are proud of their work and appreciate this opportunity to share their projects with our community.”

Both the Human Rights course and the Honors Program require students to demonstrate their work to a broader audience than their teachers and their class.  On this special day, the college acknowledges their work, while providing an opportunity for students to meet local leaders and agents of change.   “We hope many citizens will join us to learn from our students and to visit with organizations that work hard every day to improve life in North Texas,” commented Swarner. 

Tables will be set up in the Activities Center by 11:00. Then at 12:00 in the Conference Room (adjacent to the Activities Center) community groups will present a brief description of their work.  Anyone interested in participating by setting up a table please call Pat Ledbetter at 668- 4235 or email pledbetter@nctc.edu.   Everyone is welcome on May 1 to share and learn about this multi-faceted work.