Every semester, the Sociology Senior Seminar (SOC 415), under the direction of Dr. Debra Cornelius, undertakes a service learning project. This semester, the class was inspired by Ishmael Beah’s book, A Long Way Gone, which is a memoir of his experience as a child soldier during the war in Sierra Leone.
As its service project, the class planned an educational program for the campus community about the use of child soldiers throughout the world. As sociologists, they looked at structural connections between individuals and social problems by exploring how the diamond trade exploits these children and funds much of the conflicts involving child soldiers. The beautiful diamond on your finger may have started its life as a "blood diamond," mined by desperate people and sold to supply armed conflict.
The Sr. Seminar included a library display, "No More Bloodshed" by student Tara Hixon; a film showing of "Blood Diamond;" several video and poster displays; and a wristband fundraiser - all to bring awareness on this important issue and to raise funds for Amnesty International’s Child Soldier Rehabilitation Project.
The "No More Bloodshed" display features red hands, diamonds, and bloodshed - all symbols of the plight of "child soldiers" in Sierra Leone. Many children were not only forced to work in mining the diamonds to support the war cause, but were also abducted and forced to serve as child soldiers in Sierra Leone’s civil war. This display, depicting the loss of childhood innocence in Sierra Leone, is meant to heighten your awareness of such problems throughout the world.
"The Red Hand symbol has been used all over the world by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers and many civil society organizations to say no to the recruitment and use of child soldiers."
"The goal of Red Hand Day is to raise global awareness of the plight of child soldiers through public protests, demonstrations and other activities."