Raise the Respect, a Cal Poly club aimed at focusing student awareness on world issues, will have comment and information boards about the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo up all week on Dexter Lawn.
“We want to spread awareness to Cal Poly students about what’s going on in the Congo and show them that we as students are very much connected to the conflict,” said Katie Gluck, a social science senior and director/coordinator for Raise the Respect. “Because of the mineral trade and the fact that all of the minerals in our laptops, computers and our cell phones are mined in the Congo, it is fueling the deadliest war since World War II.”
Another aspect the club said they wish to bring to attention is the use of rape in the conflict in the Congo. The Eastern Congo is the rape capital of the world, said Linley Park, a graduate education student and co-director of Raise the Respect with Gluck. Soldiers rape women so they are mentally broken and are cast out of their communities. Stories of Congolese women being raped are part of the display at Dexter.
Part of the problem is the lack of coverage in the news, Park said. The international community has ignored the situation in the Congo, like the fact that children are kidnapped and used to mine for the mineral coltan, which is the used in electronics.
Park did her senior project on the conflict in the Congo and said that Raise the Respect was going to put on more events this week, but that an effort to help with the earthquake in Haiti sidetracked their original plans.
Students stopped by the boards to write comments and learn more about the Congo. Students like Alex Spotnitz, a computer engineering freshman, said they had never been exposed to the conflict before.
“(The conflict) is horrible and I think it’s really good people are bringing it to students’ awareness,” Spotnitz said. “Making posters and taking it seriously is important.”
Raise the Respect is showing “The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo,” a film about rape in the area, tomorrow night from 6:30 to 8:30 in the Graphic Arts building, room 103.