CARBONDALE — Though it's a relatively new addition to the Oxford English Dictionary, upstander is a very important term to one group.
Members of Facing History and Ourselves feel it's especially relevant, because people of various backgrounds are being harassed and discriminated against.
An upstander, according to the website Facing History and Ourselves, "embraces the challenge to speak out, do the right thing, and make decisions that help create positive change in our world. They make a conscious choice to step in instead of stand by. Some of their acts are big and some are little, but none are too small to deserve attention."
Members of the "11 Days of Compassion" and the Ralph Anderson Interfaith Dialogues through the Carbondale Interfaith Council will present events over the coming days where people can learn more about that concept.
There are two events Tuesday. The first is the bystander training for teens, which is from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 4 at Carbondale Public Library, 405 W. Main St.. The second — the "Upstanders: Are You One?" panel discussion — is set to run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the same day at the Lesar Law School Auditorium on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Sue Liemer, a law professor at SIU, will moderate that discussion.
The program will include the sharing of personal stories of oppression from Jonathan Wiesen, chair of the SIU History Department, speaking from the perspective of a Jewish man; Joy Nur, a Dayemi Tariqat community member, speaking from the perspective of a Muslim woman; Tiffany Woods of the Race Unity Group of Carbondale, sharing the perspective of an African-American woman; and Chip Loghry from the Rainbow Café, speaking as a transgender person.
Their five-minute presentations precede the showing of a 30-minute segment of the documentary "Weapons of the Spirit." The documentary by Pierre Sauvage tells the story of about 5,000 French people living in the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon in south-central France, who reportedly helped 5.000 Jewish people, trying to flee the Holocaust, escape to safety.
Maurine Pyle, who received Sauvage's permission to show part oft the film, said he is reworking it and plans to release an updated version soon.