Unite emphasizes collaboration

by Catherine Porter

More groups are becoming involved in the Unite movement, including the Jazz II dance class. Students and faculty are helping the Unite team in order to spread knowledge of human trafficking.

Unite, the movement working to educate students, faculty, staff and community members on human trafficking, has been a work in progress since this fall.

Junior Audrey Evans, the associate director of the Unite movement, said she was pleased with how the movement was going. She said it was a chance to learn a lot about leadership and she was excited to see other people get together as a community.

After the recent temperature report, a survey to assess ASWU, Unite was given areas that students thought should be improved. It showed that people are ready for more education and more action concerning the Unite movement.

“We know that there have been frustrations but there has also been a great reception,” Evans said.

People stated in the survey that they do not know about Unite or do not know how to get involved. Evans said she appreciated the feedback.

Unite was also supportive of the Violence against Women Act. President Obama passed the VAWA March 7, according to CNN.

 “Advocates have been working for over a year and a half to get this signed and many people have been calling their senator’s to help this be passed,” Evans said.

The act’s main areas are justice and safety for Native American women and LGBT survivors of previous violence, safe housing for survivors, protection for immigrant survivors and justice on campus, according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence website.

 “What has come out of this is really cool,” Evans said.

Evans emphasized that this spring break was a time for students, faculty and staff members to become more educated. The International Justice Mission, Not for Sale and Lutheran Community Services web pages give information about fair trade and human trafficking.

Unite is putting together the Ellen Challenge, which is trying to inspire Ellen DeGeneres to be involved in the Unite movement. Recently the team went around to different Prime Times and made videos and wrote letters to DeGeneres. The Ellen Challenge has also been taken up by Gonzaga students.

 “They saw some of Whitworth’s Prime Time videos and decided to help us with it,”  Evans said.

Senior Dana Sammond is one of the dancers in the Jazz II class. Karla Parbon, director of the dance minor, choreographed the dance, which focuses on the issue of human trafficking.

 “We’ve been working on it since the beginning of the semester,” Sammond said. “Last week we finished choreography and now we are polishing and perfecting, keeping it crisp until we perform.”

It will be performed on May 4 during the Spokane Block Party that ASWU is putting together.

“It is an intense piece because, as dancers we are not just using our faces but our whole bodies to express emotion,” Sammond said. “It is really cool to a part of a piece like this because it has so much weight. The piece is hard and emotional but leaves the audience with a sense of hope at the end.”

Evans, who saw the dance performed on Monday, said that she was impressed with the piece.

“It is fabulous, it is so powerful,” Evans said.

There have been many educational events throughout the year, put on by Unite, that focused on labor and sex trafficking in the United States, other countries in the world and Spokane. These events included the Dream Workshop, a pornography discussion and the Not for Sale Academy World Tour.

Contact Catherine Porter at cporter16@my.whitworth.edu

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