The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Students "Rock for Human Rights"

Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

This is the first of 30 inalienable rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. On Thursday, September 25, the Chatham community gathered on the quad to celebrate these rights with a free concert from Rock for Human Rights (R4HR).

R4HR, founded in 2011 by musician Wil Seabrook, works to educate people on the rights that the United Nations guarantees each and every global citizen.

“We’re here today because everyone on the planet has 30 human rights and almost no one knows about them,” said Seabrook at the beginning of his performance.

Seabrook first became interested in human rights when a friend asked him to create some music for public service announcements about the Universal Declaration for At the time, he had never heard of the Declaration, but he “learned about it, and really fell in love with the message.”

Seabrook wanted to spread the word about the Declaration, of which he feels many people are unaware. He has decided to do so through his music.

“I got into music because I wanted to make the world a better place,” he said.

For R4HR’s first national tour, Seabrook teamed up with Alexio Kawara, a Zimbabwean musician who shares his passion for human rights. On this ten-day tour, the musicians are visiting colleges and theaters primarily in the northeastern United States with the goal of both educating and entertaining college-aged people.

“We’re kind of just testing the waters to see how it goes,” said Seabrook.

Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman
Photo Credit: Ivy Kuhrman

With this tour as a test run, R4HR is planning a full international tour next year.

Each attendee of the concert received a free booklet from R4HR containing the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as their translations into “plain English.”

Seabrook and Kawara took turns performing original songs and covers, accompanied by a backing band.

As part of the Global Focus program, Thursday evening’s gathering was also in celebration of the South African holiday Heritage Day, traditionally observed on September 24. On this day, South Africans celebrate their unique culture and diversity.

Authentic South African cuisine was available. Some ethnic dishes included sosaties (marinated beef and apricots on skewers, topped with orange marmalade), braai (grilled chicken coated in spices like paprika and chili powder), African yellow rice (rice dyed yellow with turmeric, mixed with cinnamon and raisins), and crunchies (oatmeal cookie bars). Less adventurous diners had the option of turkey club or portobello mushroom wraps and Rice Krispie Treats.

Students and faculty sat at tables on the quad, eating and chatting while listening to R4HR’s music and message in the background.

After the performance, CDs of both Seabrook’s and Kawara’s music were available for $5 and $10. Their music may also be purchased on iTunes.

To learn more about Rock for Human Rights, visit their website.

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