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Let's Talk Human Rights

What I learned from working with OpenGlobalRights

By Kristen Brickner ‘22

Throughout college, I had a constant voice in the back of my head telling me to get involved. “Look for organizations on campus that fit your interests, join a club sport, find an internship that puts your major to the test.” Trying to dull the constant nagging, I began looking at campus internships that fit my needs. Little did I know, when I applied to work at the Human Rights Center for the OpenGlobalRights position, that I would take with me a wealth of knowledge and new found passion for human rights. 

To give some background, OpenGlobalRights is a leading organization when it comes to knowledge about the human rights field. They recruit professionals to share their thoughts via blog posts and other collaborative projects. From the war in the Ukraine to the systemic race issues in the United States, OpenGlobalRights explores world matters, aiming to educate and inspire up and coming generations. When I found the internship announcement I knew nothing about OGR. Because of this experience, my advice to other students is to look outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. There is no better way to grow than through taking on  a unique opportunity about which you have no expectations. 

My work for OpenGlobalRights mainly consisted of maintaining their social media accounts. Being a Communications major, I recognized that I could creatively re-promote old articles that were still very relevant and relatable to current day issues. I also was given the opportunity to promote new projects and important pieces the OGR team worked on this past year. One project that especially stuck out to me because of its importance was the Pandemic Insights article. Human rights practitioners from around the world collaborated with OGR to share their insights into how the COVID-19 pandemic affected them. It made me realize that, even though we all experienced the same pandemic, there were drastically different impacts on communities around the world due to issues regarding health care access, supply shortages, and job loss. One main takeaway from this project was how the pandemic really highlighted inequalities that our society has long overlooked and need to be changed. Read more of the Pandemic Insights here

I also learned that the range of human rights abuses and issues are so diverse they span across every aspect of life. For example, OpenGlobalRights worked tirelessly this past year to compile their Datafication Report. The concept of datafication was new to me. While promoting the report, I grasped how prevalent and progressive technological abuses are and I learned more about the process of censorship on social media platforms. Governments can use censorship and social media monitoring as a way to promote biased or false information, while actively trying to rid platforms of opposing information and views. Another issue is facial recognition software and how it is a threat to personal privacy in public spaces. Overall, technology is one of the greatest human advancements; however, when put into the wrong hands it can be utilized as a weapon. Read more from the Datafication Report here.

duck.jpegThrough this internship, I discovered  my ability to harness the power of social media for good. Social media is often seen as polarizing and fake; but, I find it can be a tool of empowerment and a source of educational growth. Through promoting content for OGR, I felt that I was making a difference for someone out there who wanted to find stories on social media that resonated with them. From the struggle of women’s bodily autonomy to LGBTQ+ rights in Asia, I was able to cater OGR’s content to everyone. 

Going into this internship, I was intimidated and fearful that my lack of knowledge would be a barrier to my success. In the end, I believe that as long as you have a willingness to learn you should take chances in your career, especially when you are in college. Oftentimes majors stick with what they know. In my major, I thought I felt more comfortable being in a traditional business environment. In the end, though, I learned the importance of flexibility, collaboration, and adaptability. OpenGlobalRights is an amazing organization that I was lucky enough to work with. 


Kristen Brickner just graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Management and a minor in Marketing. Throughout her time at Dayton she was involved with many organizations on campus besides the HRC, such as Campus Activities Board and the Communications fraternity Phi Beta Chi.

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