Youth Reflections on the RCE Launch Event at the Center for Civil and Human Rights

November 26, 2018

The RCE Greater Atlanta Launch Event took place on October 10th, 2018 at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. RCE Greater Atlanta is the 6th RCE in the U.S. and the 166th in the world. Despite the evening’s stormy weather, the Launch Event was well-attended by educators, professionals, community members, and students. Dr. Jennifer Hirsch, an RCE Greater Atlanta Co-Founder and Co-Lead summarizes the event’s success best: “After almost two years of work getting to this evening, it was energizing and encouraging to see such a diverse crowd turn out – including so many students from many different institutions. The planning was also very participatory, with students, faculty, and partners putting together the event and the educational materials. I’m honored and excited to be involved from the beginning!”

The Launch Event coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The exhibits on display at the Center highlighted key points of the American Civil Rights Movement and Global Human Rights Movement. In addition to the Center’s own exhibits, RCE Greater Atlanta had miniature exhibits for the seven Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it focuses on along with SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals. Members of the Youth Network, the college student and young alumni branch of RCE Greater Atlanta, helped curate content for the exhibits and provide volunteers to staff the exhibits. Student volunteers educated and initiated discussion on the significance of each SDG, both globally and at home in Atlanta with attendees. Undergraduate students in an architecture course at Kennesaw State University designed and built display models for each SDG.

RCE Greater Atlanta members spoke on the importance of human rights, sustainable development, and activating college youth in collaborating to achieve the SDGs. The City of Atlanta’s Chief Resilience Officer, Amol Naik, also spoke about Atlanta’s responsibility to uphold the SDGs and the Swiss Consul General of Atlanta, Peter Zimmerli, spoke on the importance of global partnerships to achieve SDG 11: Sustainable Cities

Youth Network member Joey Buehler describes his excitement at attending the Launch Event: “When the actual day came, I was worried the hurricane would stifle the success of the event but boy was I wrong. I showed up soaked on one of Atlanta's new electric scooters and my heart was immediately warmed by all of the people inside. Everyone was excited to share what they were passionate about and find common ground. When the speakers began, everyone at first celebrated the amazing progress that has been made, but soon came to the realization that this event marked just the beginning. Many people believe that sustainability is all about trees and carbon, but in reality it can hit much closer to home when you put it in the perspective of community, equity, and hope. The Launch Event served as a symbol of our sustainable community, one that I am proud to be a part of.”

The Launch Event was a big milestone for RCE Greater Atlanta but this will not be the last of our accomplishments. In the coming year we plan to launch the Environmental Justice Academy, engage more students in the Youth Network, and continue educating, inspiring, and partnering with the Greater Atlanta community to take action towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. If you would like to learn more about RCE Greater Atlanta, please visit our webpage or Facebook Page. If you would like to get involved with the Youth Network, please visit our Facebook Page or email rceatlyn@gmail.com.