Last Letter Writing Meeting for 2013

letter writing ThanksgivingWe understand that is the week of Thanksgiving and that everyone is busy, but if you could spare some time tomorrow, that would be great. Tomorrow is our last letter writing meeting of the year. We typically don’t have a meeting during the last week of the year, instead participating in Amnesty International’s annual Write-a-Thon (details can be found below).

Details for Tomorrow’s Meeting

Who: Our Amnesty International chapter and those interested in human rights

What: To write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience worldwide

When: 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Where: Hartford Coffee Company on the corner of Roger and Hartford, one block off of Arsenal

Why: Because people need our help and we can make a difference

How: Just show up to the meeting! We’ll provide the paper, pens, and pertinent information on each of the cases. Be thankful that you are able to do something for others, and not be in a position where you need activists like us writing letters on your behalf!

Letter Writing Topics

  • Families left homeless in Brazil
  • Human rights organization attacked in San Salvador
  • Shi’a community at risk of forced eviction in Indonesia
  • Political activist detained in Yemen

Write-a-Thon Event Details

Our goal this year is 200 letters! So please join us to write for rights at our Annual St. Louis Write-a-Thon! Please RSVP on Facebook (by clicking the link) if you are attending or thinking about attending. Even if you don’t want to sit with us and write letters, you are welcome to come to the brewery, have a meal, and sign a few of our petitions.

Who: Our Amnesty International chapter and anyone else who wants to do something good for someone else this holiday season.

What: To write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience worldwide

When: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Where: Schlafly Bottleworks – 7260
Southwest Ave. @ Manchester. Maplewood, MO 63143

Why: Because people need our help and we can make a difference, and because it’s fun

How: Just show up and enjoy great company, food, and beer (food and beer not free). We’ll provide the paper, pens, and pertinent information on each of the cases.

If you can’t attend the Write-a-thon, then please subscribe to this blog for updates! We will be posting the focus cases for this year’s event, so you can follow along and write letters on your own time. We’ll give you all the information you need to write the letter and to send it to the appropriate person. If you’re going to write letters on your own or attend our event, then please pledge your commitment on the Amnesty website. Our goal is 200 letters, but Amnesty’s goal is to have 75,000 people writing letters. Please join the event in any way you can! Your voice has power, and many people around the world need it.

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Upcoming Execution in MO, Vigils to Be Held to Spread Awareness

death penalty abolitionMissourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (MADP) will hold vigils on Tuesday, November 19 to protest the execution of Joseph Franklin, scheduled for Wednesday, November 20.”While there’s no issue of innocence, Franklin retains as a human being a fundamental right to life,” according to MADP chair Rita Linhardt. He has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with delusions. He left a number of victims in the course of several years of murders; MADP offers condolences to the families and friends of all those victims.

Also, MADP asserts, the growing secrecy behind executions is ominous: state law forbids making known the identity of the physician, the anesthesiologist who supervises the execution, although the American Society of Anesthesiologists has spoken out strongly discouraging anesthesiologists from taking part in executions. Also, the new drug protocol for the lethal injection calls for pentobarbitol acquired from a compounding pharmacy, a type of pharmacy under much less regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and thus cause for worry, but the state refuses to make public the identity of the pharmacy.

Vigils Scheduled Around the State

Springfield: Tuesday, Park Central Square, 11.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information call Donna, 417-459-2960. Cancelled if a stay is issued by 11/17.

St. Louis: Tuesday, St. Francis Xavier Church at the corner of Grand and Lindell, prayer service from 7:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Vigil on church steps from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then, we will travel to Bonne Terre to vigil outside the prison from 11 p.m. onwards. For information call Margaret, 314-322-5159.

St. Joseph: Tuesday, The Civic Center Park at the Statue of Liberty at 5 p.m.

Kansas City: Tuesday, JC Nichols Fountain in the Plaza, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. For information call Cathleen, 816-206-8692

Columbia: Tuesday, Boone County Courthouse in front of the columns, corner of Walnut and 8th, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. For more information contact 573-449-4585.

Jefferson City: Tuesday, across from the Supreme Court Building at 207 West High Street, 11 p.m. to midnight. For more information contact 573-449-4585. (Cancelled: 10:30 prayer service at St. Peter’s due to renovation.)

Bonne Terre: Tuesday November 19 – Wed. No. 20, candlelight vigil outside the Bonne Terre Prison, 2727 Hwy K, 11:00 p.m. until the end of execution. Contact Margaret Phillips at 314-322-5159.

Book Club Meeting Tomorrow!

Dirty Wars book coverHappy Veterans Day! Hopefully, you’re able to enjoy the day off, and if that’s the case, then you need to make sure you finish Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield. Our book club meeting is tomorrow night, where we will discuss the use of drones and lethal force by the U.S government. If you have to work today and are unable to finish the book, then please still attend! As long as you read part of the book, we’re sure that have something to contribute regarding human rights and the war on terror.

Book Club Meeting Details

Who: Any and all those who have read the latest book from Jeremy Scahill.

What: A meeting to discuss the topics covered in Dirty Wars, as well as a few upcoming events

When: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Hartford Coffee Company on the corner of Roger and Hartford. We meet in the study room in the back, past the patio.

Why: Because there’s much to talk about and much to do! It’s insane that our government is using unmanned drones to target innocent civilians, including U.S citizens.

How to Use Blogging to Promote Human Rights

blogging human rightsIn today’s digital era, everyone is a publisher, especially non-profits and activists. If you aren’t going to take the time to tell your story and to discuss the issues that are important to you and your organization, then who will take the time? Chasing newspapers and magazines to cover your upcoming event or to publish your op-ed is not the only strategy anymore. Besides, blogging is a much more effective strategy if your goal is to build awareness and to get attention. Here’s how to use blogging to promote human rights:

Blog Regularly

The more often you can blog (without sacrificing quality), the better. Ideally, you want to blog at least twice a week, but I understand that not everyone can fit that level of commitment into their scheduled. If you need to do it less often, say once a week or every other week, then you need to stick to that schedule as much as possible. Although you’ll build an audience faster if you blog more often, you’re not going to build an audience at all if your schedule is all over the place. No one wants to follow a blog that write three posts this week, and then only write one post over the next three weeks. It’s too inconsistent to keep people coming back. Before you write your first blog post, figure out your level of commitment to the blog, and well, commit to it.

Don’t Just Talk about Yourself

This is the biggest mistake people, and organizations, make when starting to blog. They only talk about themselves! This is fine if the blog is a personal blog, but if you’re writing for your Amnesty chapter or for chapter members, then you need to write about topics that are important to members and to the chapter. That audience don’t necessarily want to hear about chapter events all the time, especially since they probably already know about all the chapter events coming up. Instead, write about the issues and/or write about ways they can be better human rights activist and make a bigger difference. Be a helpful resource, not a bullhorn. You don’t get others to care about you if all you do is talk about yourself. No one likes someone who talks about themselves at a party, so don’t do it on your blog. Talk about the things that interest others to get them to listen and to like your content.

Posts 300 words or Less Aren’t Going to Cut It

This is the second biggest mistake new bloggers make; their blog posts are way too short to offer any value. As you may have noticed, this blog post is already over 400 words, and it’s not done covering the topic of how to use blogging to promote human rights. If this post ended at 300 or 250 words, it wouldn’t be nearly as helpful. This mistake stems from the misconception that search engines like shorter posts, but that’s no longer true. Search engines prefer content that goes into great deal about the topic and offers something of value to the reader. Short posts are okay from time to time, but make sure that with every blog post, the reader feels that reading that post was worth while and provided some benefit to his/her life. If it takes 2000 words to provide this value, then go for it. If 2000 words is way too daunting, then shoot for 600-800 words with every post. This goal is a good balance between giving yourself enough room to go into depth without overwhelming the reader with something that will take too long to read.

Related Articles:

45 Human Rights Blog Ideas You Can Use Right Now

How to Use Facebook to Promote Human Rights

4 Effective Ways to Engage Your Amnesty Members