“Do you have a boyfriend? If this question made you feel uncomfortable, visit the Right Light Festival,” read a banner for Ewha’s Right Light Festival. Just as how different colored lights of the spectrum comes together to become a single white light, the Right Light Festival aimed to raise awareness of various rights in our society that can shine harmoniously together as one.
This year’s festival was held from Sept. 27 to 29, co-hosted by the Student Government Association (SGA) and six organizations of the Ewha Independent Union - Byunnal, Ewha cinematehque, Ewha Independent Library, Ewha Women committee, Ewha Searcheye, and Ewhanabi, a student association that supports the survivors of military sexual slavery by Japan.
This year marked the second Right Light Festival, after it proved to be a great success last year. The festival and it’s hosts continue their goals to raise awareness of various rights, for both minorities and animals, on campus through performances, informative booths, talk concerts, and movie screenings.
Eight booths in total dealt with rights of women, people with disabilities, workers, animals and members of LGBTQ community. Each booth had to pass the standard suggested by the SGA to make sure that their activities to protect one form of rights does not offend other minorities.
The booths sold various goods, and the profits made were donated to organizations supporting the rights related to each booth.
“The profits made will all be donated for protests against disability rating and support obligation systems held at Gwanghwamun Square,” said a member of Nodeul Popular School for Disabled People.
“All disabled people have the right to be treated equally without having to be classified into different rates.”
There were also performances staged in front of the Student Union Building. Performing teams had to go through thorough examination of the lyrics of the song they chose to perform, as many songs in Korea contain objection of women and other minorities.
“Having to go over the lyrics was a new experience, but I believe that it was a crucial stage to convey the meaning of the festival since many songs tend to reflect the stereotypes that we have about minorities of our society,” said Kang So-young, a member of the hip-hop club Rize which performed for the opening ceremony. “The festival is especially meaningful in the way that it helps us acknowledge the discrimination that takes place in our everyday lives that we did not even notice.”
The booths handed out leaflets or brochures with detailed information about various cases of rights violations. Although the five categories of inequalities were not unheard of, participants expressed their satisfaction on getting to learn more about each one.
“Many people know about animal rights but not many actually know specifically which parts of their rights are violated and what measures can be made to protect their rights,” said Gwak Onew, a sophomore majoring in English. “It was also meaningful that I could have an in-depth discussion about the issue with my friends.”
“It was also meaningful in that I could have an in-depth discussion about the issue with my friends.”
This year’s Right Light Festival focused more on activities that students could participate in, actively voicing out their thoughts on various issues compared to last year. Students can take one more step from learning new facts about human and animal rights issues to taking part in exchanging their thoughts with others.
Kim Wha-hyun, a senior majoring in Physics visited the SGA’s booth on veganism, and was more than impressed.
“The booth allowed visitors to look past the misconceptions and stereotypes about the vegan lifestyle,” said Kim. “They even shared with how non-vegans can be considerate and respectful towards vegans in our daily lives, which was very impressive.”
The leaflets that the SGA prepared informed students not only on veganism itself, but also its harmonious intent in a harmless lifestyle.
“I hope students will become more aware of minorities’ rights in campus through the Right Light Festival,” Kim concluded, as she and many other students took the time to educate themselves of the diversifying social minorities of the current society