Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Freedom Festival: Amnesty International

I guess this is where we should start. Amnesty International is a huge well-organized protest group. There are nearly three million members, volunteers, activists spread through over 150 countries.

I worked with Amnesty International to help lobby for an incarcerated Nelson Mandela and to free Jews from the Soviet Union in the 7o’s and 80’s. Their tactics are different for each campaign and formulated by those who are on the ground in that country. I have always been impressed with the understanding that local campaigners know best how to work the system.

Amnesty International is a great organization to support. They need your money and your time. The latter can be given from your own room or at their local offices. The advantage of going to their offices is that you get to spend an afternoon with other cool and committed individuals.

Amnesty International is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Usually this should be a proud landmark, but perhaps we can all hope that Amnesty International will not be around to celebrate its centenary – the world will have learned to respect itself and others.
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

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