Amnesty International wasn’t the club to join at my high school. In fact, student organizations weren’t very popular at all. Our “club” existed only as a weekly discussion group, where a half a dozen people and I discussed the plight of prisoners of war, death row inmates, and various other instances of human rights violations. Our group would set up a table in the cafeteria, display our yellow banner, and ask students to sign petitions. After tabling, I remember a friend questioning me as to why I believed Guantánamo prisoners deserved a trial by jury. He insisted, “they aren’t American citizens; they don’t have same rights we do.” I couldn’t think a response, I just stared at him, shocked. I imagined getting into a heated discussion on the UN declaration of human rights and whether or not matters in cases such as this. In the end, I decided to not push the point and eat my lunch.
For many Reedies, being in college and living away from home provides a chance to experiment with the responsibilities and privileges that come with being an adult. Reed’s unique culture encourages self-exploration and individuality among our students—the unofficial motto is, “Communism, Atheism, Free Love,” after all.