By ADRIANNA MATAMOROS
A photograph of a bench with the words ‘I refuse to just sit here. I will make a change’ in Uhuru Park, a central attraction of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, accompanies a description about the park’s significance as part of ‘Where is Dr. Wright Now,’ a blog series presented by Lynn professor and human rights researcher, Dr. Marcheta Wright.
The post, found on Lynn’s website, embodies the efforts being made by the professor as she travels through Kenya to facilitate awareness for global human injustices that remain prevalent today.
“Despite significant improvement throughout the world, human rights violation and gender based discrimination have not abated and are on the rise for many people,” said the professor.
“For moral, ethical and humanitarian reasons, these issues are critical to heed.” With an extensive background as humanitarian and professor of global truths, Dr. Wright’s research in Kenya focuses heavily on human rights and political activities of indigenous people, expanding research obtained during a similar expedition to Nigeria in 2001.
Thus, a month long expedition through various locations within Kenya, including the central Great Rift Valley, Samburu, Limuru and Nairobi, ensued, documented on the university website by Dr. Wright herself.
“The key topic that I am examining [in Kenya] is the ways in which people who live in marginalizing conditions – [meaning] scarce resources, ethnic and or gender inequalities- have attempted to change and or adapt to those conditions.”
Encouraged by the expressed interest of students and faculty of Lynn with regards to her trip, Dr. Wright established a way to connect her experience to the Lynn Community using ‘Where is Dr. Wright Now,’ updating her whereabouts and sharing her photos.
“Because of the courses I teach, [Justice at the Margins, Global Human Rights, and Global Environmental Politics and Justice] I thought it would be nice to ‘take people with me’ on my journey, “ she said.
Although much of Dr. Wright’s research emphasizes human rights issues, her work in Kenya also delves into issues surrounding wildlife interactions and the conflicts that arise for both humans and animals among areas scarce in resourses.
In a former ‘Where is Dr. Wright Now’ post, the professor highlighted the implications of poaching practices within wildlife expanses, as well as the imminent need for education regarding such topics.
“The term ‘ecosystem’ reflects the importance of an interdependence relationship among species and their environments, “she said. “A system won’t work if there are missing parts. For this, education efforts are indeed needed: for the poachers and consumers alike.”
Assimilating the concern of poaching to human rights and protection needs in such regions, Dr. Wright believes that education about the treatment of wildlife could actually further benefit the people of Kenya, if it were presented in conjunction to poverty alleviation efforts such as guaranteeing sufficient food and water.
But the concerns, according Dr. Wright, are not just for citizens of Kenya to consider. “Poaching is a global issue,” she notes. “Education efforts are just as critical for the societies that are purchasing the poached animal parts.”
For the professor, the wildlife of Kenya and surrounding areas benefits most when the globe, not just Kenyan or other African populations, shifts it’s attention toward the problems surrounding it.
In the same way, the issues inflicting poverty and injustice among the majority of global citizens can only absolve if the entire world, not just areas affected, take action.
“Human rights and gender issues are far from resolved for the vast majority of the planet’s population,” expressed the professor.
“Those of us who live in, and benefit from privileged societies, need to be more aware of and reduce or eliminate the actual costs of our lifestyles on other people and societies.”
This mission, to invite the world to support the regions and people of Kenya and elsewhere, is an important component to the purpose of both Dr. Wright’s work and her online posts.
“I don’t know if my posts will inspire. But, if they expand people’s awareness of situations and conditions relevant to human rights and environmental issues, then I will have accomplished a purpose,” she said.
“However, if we take the words on the park bench in Uhuru Park seriously – than deeds must accompany awareness.” Students and faculty can catch up with updated ‘Where is Dr. Wright Now’ posts by visiting mylynn.edu, under Academics.