Hannah Ray, a third-year student at Ohio Northern University studying political science and statistics, is passionate about and active in addressing issues of human rights. She is a founding member of Amnesty International at ONU, dedicated to increasing campus awareness of, dialogue about, and action on human rights issues. For the last three years, she has mobilized campus efforts to advocate for the rights of death row inmates, victims of gun violence, targets of gender-based violence, and refugees. She is mentoring students to take action on the issues about which they are passionate and teaching younger AIONU members the quotidian realities of event organization. After graduation, Hannah will join AmeriCorps for twelve months and then earn her graduate degree in public administration. Hannah's long-term plans include working for a federal agency or for a non-profit where she will continue to dedicate herself to the betterment of others.
My interest and activism in human rights began during my freshman year of college. I realized that I could do something to help stop human rights violations through collaborative actions with my classmates. There was no human rights group on campus to join, so I helped create a chapter of Amnesty International at Ohio Northern University. By doing this, I have increased the recognition of human rights abuses occurring worldwide and created a dialogue between students. I have helped establish an annual Write for Rights event, where students write to officials in positions of power to stop human rights violations in their respective countries. I have organized events over issues like the death sentence in Ohio, where a death row exoneree came to speak, and refugee rights abroad, where we held discussions over ethnic food. I have also gotten students to sign petitions and call their legislative representative and governor to help pass or stop bills from going through the state government. On the national level, I have led a group of students to Washington D.C. to lobby for several different issues concerning human rights. Finally, I have helped other students create events to stop human rights violations.