December 11, 2012 > 'Half the Sky'
'Half the Sky'
By Angie Wang
Mission San Jose High School's (MSJHS) "Half the Sky" movement is a new group dedicated to raising money to end human trafficking. MSJHS Juniors Kristina Wong and Sabeeka Naqvi work with Human Geography Teacher Bill Jeffers to run the organization. "Half the Sky" is the title of a book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who tell stories of the oppression of women around the world. The book was later turned into a film documenting Kristoff, WuDunn, and six celebrity activists as they travelled throughout ten countries to confront this global oppression.
Wong said the film inspired her to start a movement at MSJHS because she saw a raw first look at what actually happens around the world. She explained that in other countries, governments are so corrupt that men are arrested for sexual abuse but then just set free, as if they never committed the crime. Some police forces and law systems aren't developed enough to convict criminals.
"[The makers of the film] shared their own experiences with their audience, and when I saw the film I felt same feelings of shock and terror that they felt," she said. "It was so powerful and seemed so urgent that I had to do something about it."
Human trafficking is a hard issue to understand and confront as high school students. In Jeffers' Human Geography class, he recognizes that these problems are difficult to discuss. This motivated Wong and Naqvi to raise funds for the cause because they wanted to help prevent the problem, even if they didn't know how to talk about it.
Wong felt that students her age also needed to be more aware of how big of an impact sex trafficking has on men and women everywhere. "When I talk about [the problem] with my friends, sometimes it just gets waved off as something funny and not serious because it has to do with sex," she said.
Wong and Naqvi plan to raise money and awareness by hosting a movie night and showing clips of the documentary at meetings. As "Half the Sky" grows as a group, they plan to involve the entire community and district rather than just the students at MSJHS. "We want to talk to other Fremont schools and get them involved because the point is to spread the word," Wong said.
For more information on the "Half the Sky" movement, visit www.halftheskymovement.org.