Minister of Human Rights
Okong'o strives to have critical conversations daily and challenge institutionalized oppression in innovative ways. He is passionate about ideas and helping people build and implement them, so feel free come to him with yours! Outside of the SRC he is also the director and organizer of TEDxQuestU, and is working on building Africa's largest animation house that creates representation for African languages, stories, and minority groups from a decolonial and intersectional lens.
There is an issue that has been experienced by numerous Quest students and myself, that propelled me to campaign and will no longer be ignored. The usage and articulation of racist slurs, symbols and ideas. This is not only happening off campus, but here on campus, within the culture that we form and define. Intellectual debate around these issues has attempted to dismantle these systems, but it has also allowed for these systems to be reframed. And has taken no action. In that time frame where you are talking about the issues -they are happening. They are happening when Eliyana, a black 14 year old girl in Squamish, has a swastika and racial slurs painted at her home and school -and has endured racial slurs for two years with no action from the local police (and still hasn't received any justice). They are happening when a black Quest student was verbally assaulted with racial slurs while they were coming up the hill. They are happening when a Quest student was told to "to go back to [their] country" on Quest campus. They are happening when white students hang racist symbols on campus to reclaim them. The belief that there is freedom to reclaim these racist symbols at the expense of the lived of experience of individuals they directly oppress, ignores the fact that it is attacking the very autonomy and presence of individuals equally deserving of being here. This is not a conversation stuck in history nor is it an abstract idea nor is it your personal interpretation -it is a reality. In order to change this I hope build upon the great work done by the previous Human Rights Ministers by doing the following: -Collaborate with institutions and groups in Squamish to create safe spaces for marginalized identities. -Push for more "diverse ways of knowing" in our Quest course options -Increase the visibility and awareness of global human rights campaigns on campus -Create more accessible avenues for political action.