Friday, January 27, 2017

Group #139 of Amnesty International Weekly Update - January 27, 2017

Greetings Everyone!
     "When it rains... it pours." What a week! What an amazing two weeks!
     For me, my mother was admitted to the hospital and almost didn't make it. She's at a rehabilitation center now and is doing well. I watched events unfold from her hospital room and became a March of One while wearing my t-shirt and pussyhat. I knitted 15 hats so... although my body was here, my heart and hats were in D.C. and two Sister Marches.
     For our group, I have to thank our Group Leader, Azam, who marched in D.C. and also kept up our Facebook posts and Urgent Action links. My full attention was given to my mother and our family. Thank you!
     I hope many of you were able to attend the Women's March on Washington or a Sister March. What an amazing sight! Amnesty International joined women's groups, environmental groups, social justice groups, and so many others to show the world that we will stand up and that "WOMEN'S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS." There are many photos and many links to videos of the marches. Here are just a few: (1) Women's March in Madison video, (2) Linda Sarsour's powerful speech at the Women's March On Washington video, (3) Ashley Judd speaks at Women's March on Washington video, (4) Images from around the world photos and (4) Estimates of Marchers video.
     For our world, a palpable shift occurred. Amnesty International is a nonpartisan organization. We do not endorse one political party over another but we do stand up for human rights. For me, the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States represents a call to action. It is now, more than ever, that we need to stand up, we need to sign petitions, we need to call, we need to write, we need to shed that light for human rights in the U.S. and around the world. The values influencing U.S. government policy have changed. Good trade deals may not include the recognition of human rights violations. Indigenous rights, immigration rights, women's rights, family rights, health care, prison reform, and environmental concerns may take a backseat if they "cost too much" or are deemed unworthy. Human rights are under attack and we must be vigilant... we must move forward with renewed energy and we must make our voices heard.
     Please take action today!  Our Facebook posts have continued and our Urgent Action list has been updated. Send us YOUR photos. How are YOU taking action??? We will share them in our Weekly Update and put them on our website.
In Solidarity,
Photos include:
(1)  Margaret's daughter, Margaret Huang (AI USA), and Azam Niroomand-Rad in D.C.
(2)  Debbie Lloyd at Aurora Hospital
(3)  ​Farideh Kioumehr in LA

Monday, January 16, 2017

Group #139 of Amnesty International Weekly Update - January 13, 2017

Greetings and Happy New Year!

Thank you to the many of you who have sent messages of condolence. The circle of life continues. The last 3-4 weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me and my family. Not only were we delighted with the smile and presence of our 3 and 1/2 year old granddaughter but also attended my nephew's wedding. We also made the final arrangements for my dear, dear mother-in-law who passed away during this time. Unfortunately our group was not able to find someone to update our website, social media posts, and Weekly Update while I was involved in making these final arrangements and therefore, the work was left undone. We are still searching for someone to help with our work. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Azam at . I would be very happy to show you how to do all of this either in person, by phone, or via Skype or Facetime. The work and time are very flexible and is VERY rewarding. We need you in order to continue this very important work.

We would also like to thank our many contributors to Group #139 of Amnesty International. Your generous support let's us know that you value what we are doing and makes it possible for us to continue making a difference for human rights in the world.
Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on Monday, January 16, 2017. During these very troubling days, we need to be reminded of his words. Here are just some of his very inspiring words.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  • The ultimate measure of a man [and I would add woman] is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
  • Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
  • Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
  • We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.
Next Saturday is the Women's March on Washington and Sister Marches. Amnesty International is one of the sponsors of the March. Here is a link to the March's Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles.  These Values and Principles include: (1) We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights, (2) We believe Gender Justice is Racial Justice is Economic Justice, (3) Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of violence against our bodies, (4) We believe in accountability and justice for police brutality and ending racial profiling and targeting of communities of color, (5) We believe it is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system, (6) We believe in Reproductive Freedom, (7) We believe in Gender Justice, (8) We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans or gender non-conforming brothers,sisters and siblings,  (7) We believe in an economy powered by transparency, accountability, security and equity, (8) We believe in equal pay for equal work and the right of all women to be paid equitably, (9) We recognize that women of color carry the heaviest burden in the global and domestic economic landscape, particularly in the care economy, (10) We believe that all workers - including domestic and farm workers - must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage, and that unions and other labor associations are critical to a healthy and thriving economy for all, (11) We believe Civil Rights are our birthright, (12) We believe it is time for an all-inclusive Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, (13) Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin, and (14) We believe that every person and every community in our nation has the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. This March and the Sister Marches are FREE and OPEN to EVERYONE. Click here for more links found on our website. Check with your area for local Sister Marches if you cannot attend the National March in Washington, D.C.
  • The Women’s March on Washington will convene on Saturday, 10:00 am, January 21, 2017. The starting point will be the intersection of Independence Avenue and Third Street SW, near the U.S. Capitol.
  • The Women's March in Madison, WI will convene on Saturday, noon-5:30 pm, January 21, 2017. The starting point will be at Library Mall, 728 State Street.

In my absence, Urgent Actions from Amnesty International were posted at this link. Please consider writing a letter or signing a petition on behalf of these Amnesty International cases. Thanks, Azam for keeping the list current.

I want to thank our Group #139 for giving me the privilege of writing the Weekly Update over all of these years. I work with an incredible group of passionate and dedicated members. My work with Group #139 has broadened my understanding of human rights around the world. Together our group has written letters, signed petitions, posted human rights news, created & attended events around the world, and has helped to shine that light for others. You are amazing! I'm not sure how long I can continue as editor in light of my current family situation. Please consider volunteering. Contact me with any questions you may have.
In Solidarity Always,
-Debbie, Weekly Update Editor

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Women's March on Washington and Sister Marches - January 21, 2017

Women's March on Washington on Sat. Jan 21, 2017 
This is an INCLUSIVE march, is FREE to join and EVERYONE who supports women's rights are welcome. I will participate in the Women's March in D.C. But if you cannot go to Washington, please participate in the Women's March that is b eing organized in Wisconsin and cities around the country on Saturday March 21. Thank you, Azam Niroomand-Rad, Coordinator of Group #139 of Amnesty International  
 Here are the links to Women's March: