By Amanda McBain ’18
Defending human rights and granting justice for the powerless is a normal day for members of Amnesty Club. Amnesty, the pardoning of government offenses, is the focus of the club that writes letters of pardon on behalf of people convicted or facing conviction of crimes.
The Amnesty Club, run by Co-Presidents Brittany Thevenot ’17 and Danielle Edwards ’17, hopes to spread awareness of their parent company, Amnesty International. Amnesty International Company works hand in hand with the club by educating members and allowing them to take action.
“Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign to end abuses of human rights,” said Thevenot.
According to Amnesty International, their goals are to “conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.”
Urgent Action Coordinator, Raifa Chowdhury ’18 helps to bring these goals to life each week. Her job is “finding the most problematic issues that need to be addressed,” Chowdhury said.
Each week the Urgent Action Coordinator chooses a new Urgent Action, a human rights issue, from Amnesty International. Members who declare their support of the issue choose to write a letter of pardon for the victims. Sometimes members’ conflicting views can spark a debate over issues such as the death penalty.
For members of this club, human rights violations are crucial issues that carry great significance.
“It can be difficult to see the perception of other countries towards different people, especially if you come from a country that’s liberated,” said Chowdhury.
Members want to bring exposure to the different justice systems in countries all over the world and highlight the issues taking place there. However, they always try to respect the boundaries countries put in place.
These values are also present within the club advisor, Mr. Eugene Resnick, who said, “I believe in the work that amnesty does, fighting on the behalf of prisoners of conscience for people who are detained and abused for their ideas.”
Fighting for justice has not been the only challenge Amnesty Club has faced. The club has continually struggled to recruit sophomores and freshmen due to their ninth period schedule.
To ensure that their voice is heard around the school, each year Amnesty Club holds their holiday card drive and sends cards to those who’ve had their human rights violated.
According to Thevenot, their goal for the cards is “to let them know we’re still fighting for them.”
This year Amnesty Club wants to continue to help in bringing about a world where human rights are no longer violated.
“Each meeting we have a chance to educate each other on problems that are going on throughout the whole world and we have an opportunity to try and fix it,” said Thevenot.
For more information, contact Mr. Resnick or visit the club on Thursdays, period 9, in room 234.