Photos by Eli Bartz Photography
“Is your activism grounded in anger?” my friend asked. We sat around in the dimly lit restaurant after a day of workshops, panels, and planning at the Midwest Regional Conference vigorously discussing and debating this question. Our conversation went on for hours, drowning out time and the waning voices of our fellow diners. It had been a long, energizing day, and our minds were racing. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Michaela Miragliotta and Marissa Gutiérrez-Vicario
A flock of birds is silhouetted against a geometric jigsaw sky of triangles in varying shades of turquoise in the mural now welcoming students, teachers, and visitors at the Pan American International High School (Pan Am) in Elmhurst, Queens, New York City. The birds burst forth from behind thick bars and soar across the expansive wall to reach the Statue of Liberty, which is illuminated by a brilliant sun. The words “Justice,” “Freedom,” “Equality” boldly line the top of the mural and encourage those who see it to reflect on those ideas as they relate to immigration, according to Mirian, one of the students who worked on the mural. The new addition to the school is rich both in design and content, and the process behind its creation even further adds to its significance for the students and community.
The core group of eight students who created the mural were in an art class that was part of a special program that worked with Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE), a non-profit organization that teaches young people about human rights through art. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
AIUSA activists in Chicago demand the release of Internally Displaced People in Sri Lanka. November 2009. (c) AI
Across the U.S., from Boston to Chicago to San Francisco, Amnesty International activists are demanding: “Unlock the camps in Sri Lanka!”
As the 26-year-old war between the Sri Lankan government and the opposition Tamil Tigers ended this past May, about 280,000 Tamil civilians fleeing the fighting were put in overcrowded, military-run camps which they were not allowed to leave. The Sri Lankan government said that the civilians first had to be screened to determine if any of them were Tiger fighters. Amnesty International has pointed out that this constitutes arbitrary detention and violates the civilians’ right to freedom of movement.
Although some civilians have been released from the camps, around 150,000 still remain and camp shelters have deteriorated as Sri Lanka has entered the rainy season.
Amnesty’s “Unlock the Camps” campaign calls on the Sri Lankan government to let civilians leave the camps if they wish, to put the camps under civilian (not military) management, and to allow aid agencies full access to the camps.
Earlier this month, AIUSA members gathered in Boston and San Franscisco signed petitions and postcards demanding that the Sri Lankan government “Unlock the Camps!” SEE THE REST OF THIS POST