By Kaelah Blanchette ‘17
Injustices dealing with human rights violations are continuously being fought in a safe, indirect way by Midwood’s Amnesty International Club. Led by Helen Tang ’16, Sabrina Crivellone ’16, and Mr. Eugene Resnick, students in Anmesty International do what they can to help victims around the globe.
According to amnesty.org, Amnesty International was started by British lawyer Peter Benenson in 1961. Benenson was outraged at two Portuguese students being jailed for toasting freedom, so he wrote an article in The Observer newspaper that sparked a campaign worldwide to fight for justice and freedom. Amnesty International originated in London, then spread to places like Africa, Asia, and the Latin America, including the United States.
As it relates to Midwood, Amnesty International meets every Thursday period nine in room 254 to discuss any urgent action that Amnesty puts on their website.
“We focus on human rights globally and domestically,” said Tang. “We write letters protesting the injustice that happens, and the things we do actually work to make a difference.”
Not only do the students in Amnesty International sit and discuss urgent actions, but they also participate in events outside the school as well.
“Last year we went to the Amnesty International convention in Downtown Brooklyn, and it was very insightful,” said Crivellone. “When we went to the convention, we saw a lot of the people that were saved from the letters, so it really showed us how what we do helps people.”
According to Mr. Resnick, there is an annual event that Amnesty International will be taking on April 8, called “Get on the Bus.”
“This is a regional conference held in New York that deals with human rights issues,” said Mr. Resnick. “Kids from all over New England and the Tri-State area come, and it allows us to learn more about civil right abuses and meet other activists and be a part of a movement for social change.”
Tang and Crivellone share the same opinion when it comes to the reason that they joined Amnesty International, and the reason for others to join as well.
“The former president was in one of my classes and told me about it,” said Tang. “I like that it’s really small compared to things like Key Club, so there’s more of a chance to connect with the people in the club. It’s a lot more cozy and personal.”
Crivellone added, “We’re all here for a great reason to help other people. You’d think it doesn’t make a difference, but our letters do get people freed from whatever injustice they are facing.”
Both veterans and rookies of Amnesty International share the same thoughts as to why they joined the club in the first place, and what they hope to achieve in the club in the future.
Amanda Esau ’17 has been in Amnesty International for approximately one year, and is still elated at the fact that she is learning things that she never knew.
“I originally joined because Mr. Resnick was promoting it,” she said. “I thought it would be cool if I could write letters to help make a difference in the world and help in the fight for human rights.”
Emina Bicic ’17 joined Amnesty International recently and shares similar ideas and hopes for the club, as well as why she joined it in the first place.
“I joined because I really liked the idea of helping out the fight against human right injustices,” she said. “It’s amazing how much you learn about what’s going on in the world, and I’d like to be able to make a difference in the world through this club.”