by Caitlin Shepherd, English Teacher – SHS
Red Hand Day, February 12 each year, is an annual commemoration day on which pleas are made to political leaders and events are staged around the world to draw attention to the fates of child soldiers, children who are forced to serve as soldiers in wars and armed conflicts. The aim of Red Hand Day is to call for action against this practice, and support for children who are affected by it. Unfortunately, there are still over 250,000 children used in wars. In 2009, hundreds of youth and student groups from around the world called for stronger action to end the use of child soldiers. They gathered over 250,000 “red hands,” the symbol of the global campaign against the use of child soldiers, and presented them to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. In response, the Secretary-General pledged that the entire UN system would work to “stamp out” such abuse.
Since then thousands of red hand prints have been collected in over 50 countries worldwide, including Sandwich High School. Mrs. Shepherd’s two senior Global Literature classes participated this year by sending their own red hands and letters to state representatives, with the request to advocate for these children. Students also hung posters to raise awareness throughout the high school.