CHANGE: It Begins With YOU

Written by: Estephanie Sequeira 

Red—a color that signifies strength, power or determination, and in many aspects, a warning sign. This past month, The Red Flag Campaign took place, where red flags were displayed in the university—in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month. Here at Washington Adventist University, the primary goal is to be an outlet for anyone who needs a helping hand. Indeed, this campaign, led by the Social Work department, is one that not only benefits students but the community as a whole. 

Perhaps, there are individuals who aren’t fully aware of its purpose. In fact, the red flags in the campaign contains a powerful message that cannot be disregarded: being aware of signs, such as red flags in toxic relationships. These red flags can be witnessed in the relationship of others, or one may personally experience them in their own relationships. It is crucial to be aware because, unfortunately, a large part of our population are affected by these toxic behaviors in their partners, especially young people. 

So why the red flags? The red flags aren’t merely designed for display, but to bring awareness and provide resources to those who may be affected. Like in any other university, sexual assault and domestic violence exist, even at our University. Although the red flags have been removed and the campaign ended, the message should continue to prevail.  Silence has reigned for too long; It’s time for the voices of the silent to be heard!

How can it benefit the community? There are many residents from the surrounding areas that pass our campus daily. Residents may come across these red flags and become curious of its purpose which assists the university in spreading awareness and also becoming a resource for them to spread the word to others in the community. There are so many individuals who either are in toxic relationships, or know someone who is in one. Through this campaign, they can spread the message and make a difference by something as little as starting the conversation. 

Mr. John Gavin, the chair of the Social work department, stated the following: “ Our goal is to develop good generalist practice social workers to address individual, family and group community needs, who can earn their license and practice or go to graduate school to earn their masters in social work degree. We do that in four years to include two internships. In this way, students can be ready for their careers.”  

The Red Flag Campaign allows one to catch a small glimpse of what social work strives for: Change. Of course, change doesn’t occur overnight but as long as there are individuals willing to be aware and take action, it will occur. It doesn’t matter what department you’re in, change is possible and it begins with YOU. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in any kind of domestic abuse, remain hopeful and remember that at Washington Adventist University, you have community who will support you.

“We also work to make conditions more favorable to the needs of people. We work hard at this, even if that means confronting power and making big changes.” -Mr. Gavin

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