Thousands of Activists Brought Human Rights Home and This is What Happened

One night. One movement. There’s nothing like a stadium full of activists, human rights defenders, former prisoners of conscience, and musicians coming together to Bring Human Rights Home.

Imagine Dragons rocked the house. An amazing performance and heartfelt and humbling call to keep our eyes and hearts open to human rights.

Imagine Dragons performs at the Bringing Human Rights Home Concert

Imagine Dragons performs at the Bringing Human Rights Home Concert

Ms. Lauryn Hill rallied the crowd, keeping us all focused on “Working Hard” for human rights.

Ms. Lauryn Hill on stage at the #AmnestyConcert

Ms. Lauryn Hill on stage at the #AmnestyConcert

Pussy Riot’s Nadya and Masha, with Madonna, read powerful letters from Russian prisoners – and led the crowd in a chant of “Russia will be free!”

Masha and Nadya of Pussy Riot on stage at the Bringing Human Rights Home Concert

Masha and Nadya of Pussy Riot on stage at the Bringing Human Rights Home Concert

Finally, when The Flaming Lips, Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and dozens of Amnesty staffers and volunteers took the stage for the final song of the concert, it was more than just an amazing end to a memorable evening: it was the coming together of a powerful community — Amnesty’s network of human rights defenders.

Musicians and Amnesty staff and volunteers sing "I Shall Be Released" to close out the Bringing Human Rights Home Concert

Musicians and Amnesty staff and volunteers sing “I Shall Be Released” to close out the Bringing Human Rights Home Concert

Tonight thousands saw and heard the soundtrack of a human rights movement, led by a new generation of artists. Thousands more around the country and around the world engaged through their activism and through their social media channels. It is a human rights movement in high definition. And it is just the beginning.

Thank you to all the artists, celebrities, activists and volunteers who made this moment possible. Check back with us as this journey continues.

A Birthday Wish for Aung San Suu Kyi

Yoko Ono helped campaign for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi © James Mackay enigmaimages.net

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been the beacon of hope and change for nearly two decades in Myanmar (Burma), will be celebrating her birthday on June 19th.

Though the celebration may be inhibited, as over 2,000 political prisoners remain in prison in Myanmar.  Their conditions of detention are often inhumane and horrific; they have been convicted without the benefit of effective counsel or fair trials; and they have been convicted under vaguely worded laws that criminalize peaceful dissent.

Amnesty International members across the globe have urged the Myanmar authorities to unlock the prison doors and release all prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally.

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Ozzy Osbourne Covers John Lennon's 'How' for Amnesty

This week marks the 70th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth, and we at Amnesty are excited to share with you a brand-new cover of the iconic Lennon song “How?” premiering today on iTunes!

The recording of “How?” is a cover by the infamous rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who cites Lennon and the Beatles as his inspiration for becoming a musician.

“If we want to survive as a race of people we’ve got to address problems head on.  John and Yoko took the bull by the horns and for that you’ve got to take your hat off to both of them,” said Ozzy.

The song’s accompanying music video was shot on the streets of New York and at the Lennon Memorial in Central Park.

Three years ago, Yoko Ono graciously donated to us all of Lennon’s publishing royalties for “Instant Karma” -  an album of Lennon compositions  performed by many of the world’s leading artists including U2, R.E.M., Green Day, Black Eyed Peas, Aerosmith and Christina Aguilera. The album was critically acclaimed and has raised millions of dollars to benefit our work on Darfur.

“This year the whole world is celebrating the 70th anniversary of John’s birth,” said Ono. “His spirit and influence is stronger than ever. John shared a common purpose with Amnesty International – shining a light on wrongs and campaigning to protect people’s rights.  We all shine on!”

All proceeds from downloads of “How?” will fund our work.

A Message from Yoko Ono

Following is a special message from longtime Amnesty supporter Yoko Ono:

Dear Amnesty Supporter,

I have a special wish – and you are part of it.

Oct. 9 is the 70th anniversary of John Lennon’s birth. As always, my birthday wish for John is one of peace. For me, finding peace means protecting the human rights of courageous individuals like Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Suu Kyi inspires me to fight for human rights even when the odds seem insurmountable. She has endured unofficial detention for 14 of the past 20 years, yet she continues to inspire the people of Myanmar with her message of peace, love and freedom.

Amnesty International is a leader in the call for Suu Kyi’s release and also for the 2,100 political prisoners detained in Myanmar today.

We won’t rest until they all are free. This is what I love about Amnesty International and why I’m proud to call myself a member.

Please help my wish for peace, love and freedom come true. Make a gift to Amnesty International today.

John shared a common purpose with Amnesty – shining a light on wrongs and campaigning to protect people’s rights.

If John were alive today, I know he’d be grateful for Amnesty’s work. There is no greater champion for prisoners of conscience and victims of torture, for the oppressed and dehumanized. There is no stronger force for human rights.

Through the support of people like you, Amnesty International has become a tenacious, tireless, champion for humanity. Please try to make a financial gift today and help Amnesty International “Pass the Candle” of hope to a new generation so that this bright light never fades.

I urge you to donate right now.

In peace,

Yoko Ono

Pledge Your Support to Amnesty International

Alone, a candle – Amnesty’s symbol – is a fragile, flickering light that can be extinguished by a whisper.  Shared by millions, it becomes a shining beacon of hope.  It becomes Amnesty International.

This month, we’re passing the candle to you.  Keep it bright with your gift.  Pass it on to inspire others to join our movement.

“It means a great deal to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone. And never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu

Just this year alone, you’ve helped us:

  • free Musaad Abu Fagr, an Egyptian activist who was wrongly imprisoned
  • return former Guantanamo detainee Mohammed al-Odaini, who had been held without charge or trial for 8 years, back home to Yemen
  • create a safer environment for Rita Mahato, who works to protect abused women in Nepal
  • protect the human rights of so many more!

Our work is possible because of your support.  The light for human rights shines brighter because you’re there to protect it.  Thank you.