This year, I became actively involved with Amnesty International, an organization I have known of since I was in high school, but only just learned of its origins. Amnesty started with the simple act of one of my favorite past times (still a current happening for me), and that is letter writing. In general a nice, simple, and thoughtful letter in the mail from someone you love always warms the heart and brightens your day. But did you know letter writing can also save lives?
So, let me give you a brief history on Amnesty International, and then I'm going to tell you how you too can make a difference by the simple act of writing a letter.
Amnesty was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a British attorney, and Philip James, a Professor of Law, after Peter had read a story in the paper about two Portuguese students who were jailed for raising their glasses in a toast to freedom. He then published an article titled, "The Forgotten Prisoners," urging readers to write letters on behalf of people around the world imprisoned for exercising their human rights. The response was enormous, leading the letter to be re-published around the world, garnering more people from around the world to write letters to government leaders.
Now, 58 years later, we continue the tradition of letter writing each year. We write to government leaders to urge them to be the leaders we need them to be. We write to those imprisoned to let them know they are not alone and to provide them hope. We write to their families, to also let them know that they are not alone and provide them hope. These letters have not only provided hope and comfort, but also inspired change in laws. In some cases, activists are not just imprisoned, but some are missing, and some have been killed in their fight for freedom and human rights in their countries.
For my fellow Angelenos, we will be having our annual #Write4Rights party on Saturday, December 7, 2019 at The Original Farmers Market at The Grove, in the upstairs dining area. Come join us from 11:30am to 4pm. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions or contact our AmnestyLA social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
Your voice matters.