'History Week' comes to Los Altos High School
Presentations, film screening focus on issue of 'rights for all'
Los Altos High School is kicking off the new year by looking back — and forward — in its first ever "History Week."
Like the local high school's Science and Technology Week and Writers Week, History Week will run Jan. 14 to Jan. 18 and will bring a series of guest lecturers to the campus to speak about the recent past and to discuss what they envision for the future, according to officials close to the event.
"The theme for the week is 'rights for all,'" said Marion Robertson, one of the parent volunteers who helped organize the event. "We are hoping to provoke some thoughtful discussion about rights" — including civil rights, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, Internet privacy rights and more, she said.
Speakers include lawyers, judges, politicians and other thinkers on the subject of rights in the 21st century.
The public is invited to one of the events, which will be held Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. in the LAHS Eagle Theater and will investigate the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
After a screening of "Mississippi Burning," the Hon. James Robertson, retired U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia and chief counsel for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Lee Rubin, attorney and former prosecutor for the Department of Justice, will speak. "Mississippi Burning" is a dramatization of the FBI's investigation into the murder of three young civil rights workers in Mississippi in 1964.
The rest of the events are open only to students and include presentations by Santa Clara University School of Law professor and Forbes blogger Eric Goldman, who will talk about social media, Internet and privacy; and Dr. Laraine Zappert, clinical professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and founder of the university's Sexual Harrassment Policy Office.
"We've got from the micro to the macro," Marion Robertson said. "We'll be discussing issues of rights from the person sitting next to you to people all around the world. Other topics include students, student athletes, undocumented workers and bullying.
"With History Week, it's something that we want to bring out of the textbook," said Mike Messner, an organizer of the event and teacher of college prep and advanced placement 11th grade history at LAHS. "It's not like we're going to examine something that has a beginning, middle and end. None of these are settled issues."
He added: "I hope the students will understand that the idea of rights is something that is perennial. It's not going away. It's something they will have to confront and explore and decide what rights they believe they should have."