The displays of solidarity, action and impact from Amnesty International activists in honor of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture will amaze you.
Gun violence is a national issue that impacts tens of thousands of Americans each year. Each day 88 people lose their lives to firearms in the United States, and countless other lives are permanently and irrevocably altered. The causes of this epidemic of violence are complex, but there are organizations working around the clock to bring it to an end.
Over the last year, activists like you have taken more than 800,000 actions in support of Moses Akatugba, who was imprisoned in Nigeria at 16 years old, tortured, and later sentenced to death on suspicion of armed robbery — a crime he says he didn’t commit.
For months, Amnesty International activists have been campaigning on Moses’s case, including writing letters, participating in demonstrations and sending online messages on Moses’s case as part of Amnesty International’s Stop Torture Campaign and 2014 Write for Rights action.
Yesterday, Amnesty activists put renewed pressure on Emmanuel Uduaghan, the governor of Delta State, to free Moses before the governor’s term ends today. We learned yesterday afternoon that Moses was granted a full pardon.
By Ann Burroughs, Amnesty International USA board chair, and Steven W. Hawkins, Amnesty International USA executive director
Last week, over 1,100 human rights activists gathered in Brooklyn, New York. What for? Amnesty International USA’s Annual General Meeting, appropriately themed this year “From Moment to Movement.” Braving rain and snow, people who have been members for decades –perhaps having joined as a result of the Human Rights Concerts of the 1980s—joined with those new to Amnesty– together reflecting on the spark of change that can begin in an instant and reverberate for years.
So that’s the ‘what’ – but why? What happens when you gather this powerhouse of activism in one place for one weekend? The answers say a lot about what it means to turn a moment into a movement.
This post was originally published on Ebony.
I’m riding with folks from St. Louis on a nine hour trip to Selma. A fellow activist, Tiffany, asks the group, “When did you realize you were Black?”I thought about that question and imagined how different this ride would have been in 1965. The fear of being pulled over by a police officer on a back road and beaten to death while being called “boy,” “monkey” or “nigger.”
We are still dealing with the fear of interacting with police today. Black people are being targeted by law enforcement at an alarming rate and a “routine” traffic stop can still become a death sentence. “This ain’t no walk in the park,” fellow St. Louis native, activist, and comedian Dick Gregory tells me as we stand in the warm sun waiting for President Obama’s arrival.
By Rachel O’Leary, Amnesty Interntional USA Acting Deputy Executive Director for Membership Mobilization
On August 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year old, was shot dead by a six-year veteran of the Ferguson police force. The next day, the community organized protests condemning the actions of the police and demanding to know the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael. Those actions continue still, a week later.
The day after the shooting, I sent a text to my colleague at 3:30 AM. It read, “We need to go to Ferguson.” Later that week, I was on a plane, leading the Amnesty International USA human rights delegation to Ferguson, Missouri.
But the fight is far from over. Demand justice for Chicago torture survivors. Call on the Chicago City Council to ensure reparations for police torture survivors by passing the Reparations Ordinance for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors.
By Nabeel Rajab, Bahraini Human Rights Activist Jailed for Calling for Anti-Government Protests
I am Nabeel Rajab. I have just been released from prison after serving a two-year sentence for my peaceful and legitimate human rights work.
I’m one of many human rights defenders in Bahrain and the region who are being targeted, attacked, arrested and imprisoned. I was imprisoned on the basis of fabricated charges of “illegal practices, inciting illegal assemblies, and organizing unlicensed demonstrations through Twitter and other social networking sites.”
By Jeremy Schroeder, Amnesty International USA Board Member
Over the weekend of April 4, while over 900 Amnesty International activists from around the country converged on Chicago for the Amnesty International USA Annual General Meeting, 27 Chicago residents were victims of gun violence. And over the following weekend, 36 more Chicagoans were shot in 36 hours.
While these individual statistics are shocking, they do not convey the complex and horrific problems gun violence imposes on victims’ families, communities and the affected city at large.
The eyes of the world are currently focused on Nigeria and the efforts to free the nearly 300 schoolgirls currently held captive by Boko Haram. The abduction of these girls is yet another deeply disturbing example of the ways in which violence against girls and women affects every aspect of their lives, in this case, their right to education.
Even as we work to #BringBackOurGirls in Nigeria, we continue to press for a permanent solution to end violence against women and girls globally.
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate took an action that would help.