First Letter Writing Meeting of 2016!

 

Amnesty letter writing meeting

Every fourth Tuesday of the month, our local group meets to write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience around the world. Previously, we’ve written letters on cases in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Bahrain, the U.S., Ethiopia, Tunisia, and many more. Writing letters may seem like a waste of time, but they work, and you can make an incredible difference in the lives of those imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their human rights.

Letter Writing Meeting Details

Writing a letter isn’t hard, and only takes about 10 minutes to complete. The toughest part is actually writing a letter on a piece of paper (how often do we write anything by hand nowadays?). Whether you want to write one letter or one million, please join us tomorrow for Amnesty’s first letter writing meeting of 2016!

  • Who: Amnesty International members and human rights activists
  • What: Write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience around the world
  • When: Jan. 26, 2016 from 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Hartford Coffee Company, 3974 Hartford St. 63116
  • Why: To help those who’ve had their human rights violated and who don’t have a voice of their own

At every meeting, we have anywhere from six to 12 cases for people to choose from. Therefore, you don’t have to write letters on every single case and you don’t have to write letters on issues, countries or cases you aren’t interested in. If you want to learn more about what we’ll be working on, then below is a list of some of the countries that will be offered at the meeting, along with a short summary of the case Each bullet point includes a link to background information so you can learn more about each of the various cases if you wish.

  • Iran: Urging the government to drop charges against a filmmaker for “insulting Islamic sanctities” and “illicit relations”
  • Turkey: Asking the authorities to stop arbitrary restrictions on the freedom of movement through 24-hour curfews in three towns
  • Thailand: Urging authorities to drop charges against activists who peacefully asked for an inquiry into corruption allegations
  • Jordan: Urging the government to allow 13,000 Syrian refugees into the country

All We Need is You!

If interested in attending, then please join us! You don’t have to bring anything to participate in the letter writing. We will provide pens, paper, envelopes, stamps and all the information needed to write an effective letter. You don’t have to have experience writing letters to foreign governments and there’s no obligation to contribute resources or materials.

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March Letter Writing Meeting Tomorrow

letter writing meetingI’ve just finished my own spring break with a trip to Las Vegas, and many others have wrapped up their own spring breaks sometime this month as well. With just one full week left in March, there’s no better time than now to get back into the groove and to join us for tomorrow’s letter writing meeting.

Spring is a time for renewal, and lets renew our efforts to stop human rights abuses around the world and to build awareness for these issues. Below are the meeting details, which haven’t changed (the details for our business meetings have changed).

Meeting Details

Who: Amnesty International members and human rights advocates

What: A meeting to write letters to the US and foreign governments regarding specific human rights abuses.

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

Where: Hartford Coffee Company, on the corner of Roger and Hartford, located in the Tower Grove area. We meet in the main sitting area.

Why: Because every person and every letter can make a difference! If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. Naysayers think these letters can’t make a difference, but criticizing the way others make a difference doesn’t enact change either.

Be part of the solution and join us tomorrow!

Updates and Upcoming Events for 2014

Amnesty International events 2014The next two months have a lot going on, so pay attention! We have several events coming up in the next eight weeks, including two movie screenings and our annual conference in Chicago. If you haven’t been to a chapter meeting recently, or even if you have, then below is everything you need to know about what’s happening in March and April regarding human rights activism. We hope that you join us for at least one event or meeting.

Dirty Wars Screening

In partnership with the Peace Economy Project, the Instead of War Coalition, and Webster University, we are hosting a screening the Oscar-nominated documentary Dirty Wars. The documentary is based on a book by the same name, discussing the US’s covert war on terrorism and its use of unmanned drones in countries where the US has not declared war. Below is the information regarding the movie screening:

  • When: Thursday, March 20, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Webster University Library Conference Room
  • Address: 101 Edgar Rd, St. Louis MO, 63119
  • Cost: Free

Besides the screening, Rafia Zakaria of DAWN, a Pakistani newspaper, will be attending the event for a post-screening discussion. The discussion will involve the content from the documentary as well as Pakistan’s involvement and coverage of the issue.

No Fire Zone Screening

Exactly one week from our Dirty Wars screening is another moving screening at the exact same location and at the exact same time. This movie screening is hosted by the Webster University chapter of Amnesty International and will feature the documentary No Fire Zone. This human rights documentary talks about abuses in Sri Lanka.

  • When: Thursday, March 27, 7 p.m.
  • Where: Webster University Library Conference Room
  • Address: 101 Edgar Rd, St. Louis MO, 63119
  • Cost: Free

Annual General Meeting

April 4-6 is the annual general meeting, or the yearly national human rights conference for Amnesty International. This year’s theme is “Bring Human Rights Home” and the conference is in Chicago at the JW Marriott Hotel. Our chapter is attending, so we really hope that you’d like to come with us, or at least see us there at some of the great seminars.

On the agenda for this year’s conference:

  • Redefining Justice: The State of Criminal Justice & Human Rights in the US & Around the World
  • How Social Media Helped Abolish the Death Penalty
  • Activism Through Arts
  • Defend Human Rights by Learning About Fundraising
  • The Time is Now! Making Women’s Rights a Global Reality. Focus: North Africa – Egypt and Morocco
  • LGBT Rights are Human Rights: Getting to Know the Movement

We will be discussing transportation at our upcoming March business meeting (details below), so if you are interested in attending you don’t have to go by yourself. Please stop by so we know that you’re interested and can include you in our plans.

New Tentative Meeting Schedule

To allow more members to come to more meetings, we are making a slight change to our meeting schedule so that we can accommodate those who have Tuesday night commitments and could never make it to a meeting. Our new tentative meeting schedule, which will take effect in April, is as follows:

  • The business meeting will be moved to the second Wednesday of the month. So, our April business meeting is Wednesday, April 9.
  • The letting writing meeting will remain scheduled for the fourth Tuesday of the month. The April letter writing meeting is scheduled for April 22.

Hopefully, this change will allow you to attend at least one of our meetings per month. This change also allows more members to facilitate meetings. Please let us know if you have any thoughts on the proposed schedule or if you are willing to help facilitate either a business meeting or a letter writing meeting.

Next Amnesty International Meeting

To clarify, the March meeting is still scheduled for March 11, which is the second Tuesday of the month. April is when we make the change to the second Wednesday of the month. The March business meeting is especially important to attend if you want to come with our chapter to the conference in Chicago, but it’s always great to attend our meetings if you’re interested in human rights activism at all. Below are the meeting details:

Who: Amnesty International members and human rights advocates

What: A meeting to discuss upcoming events and current affairs.

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

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

Why: Because there’s much to talk about and much to be done!

1st Letter Writing Meeting of 2014 Tomorrow!

amnesty business meetingAre you ready to be a human rights activist this year? Is your New Year’s Resolution to be more involved in the community or to do more to make a difference? If so, then tomorrow is your chance! Starting at 7 p.m. is the very first Amnesty International St. Louis chapter letter writing meeting of the year! At this meeting, we will be writing letters to international governments on behalf of prisoners of conscience. We’ve previously written on behalf of prisoners in Iran, Egypt, China, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Russia, and many more countries.

The meeting details haven’t changed from last year, but they are listed below in case you’ve forgotten or have yet to attend a meeting with our chapter. If you need to arrive late, or if you can’t stay for the whole meeting, then that’s okay. There’s no need to feel weird about it, as we understand that everyone has jobs and families that need attention also. Just arrive when you can and stay as long as you can. The more letters, the better! Even just one more letter can make a difference!

Meeting Details

Who: Amnesty International members and human rights advocates

What: A meeting to discuss upcoming events and current affairs.

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

Where: Hartford Coffee Company, on the corner of Roger and Hartford, located in the Tower Grove area. We meet in the very back past the patio.

Why: Because there’s much to talk about and much to be done!

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.

The 3 Pillars of Letter Writing Meeting Success

letter writing meeting successTomorrow is our monthly letter writing meeting, one of many that we’ve had since the beginning of our chapter. We wouldn’t do these unless the letters actually helped and unless the meetings were successful. Below are the three pillars of letter writing meeting success. If these pillars of success interest you at all, then below are also the details regarding our own meeting tomorrow and the cases that we’ll be working on. We hope to see you tomorrow.

3 Pillars of Letter Writing Meeting Success

  1. Writing Many Letters – The key to letter writing meeting success, and achieving success in these cases, it to write a lot letters. This can be a lot of letters on one case, or writing many letters overall on many cases. Part of what makes this method of activism work is that the more letters, the better, as they represent pressure and concern from all over the world.
  2. Sending Those Letters Individually – Since it’s the number of letters that matters, part of making an impact is sending those letters individually and placing each letter in its own envelope. With my old college chapter, we always sent our letters in one envelope, which isn’t the best. Sending the letters individually also means that if there’s a reply from the government, you’ll be able to receive it because they can address it to someone.
  3. Making a Difference with Your Letters – It’s easy to say that letter writing doesn’t help with releasing someone from prison or improving conditions. After all, results don’t happen right away, if they ever happen at all, but that doesn’t mean that commitment and persistence won’t mean anything. Our own chapter has released prisoners of conscience, and many other Amnesty International chapters can say the same when it comes to the work they’ve invested in their cases.

Letter Writing Meeting Topics

  • Pregnant woman held without charge in Bahrain
  • Flogging risk in Sudan
  • Cancer prisoner needing compassionate release in the United States
  • Prisoner of conscience rearrested in Saudi Arabia
  • Human rights activist stabbed in Mexico

Letter Writing Meeting Details

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.

Take Action Against Syria at Tomorrow’s Letter Writing Meeting

amnesty international letter writingAs the Syrian government agrees to let the United Nations into the country to investigate the possibility of a chemical weapons attack, we must remember that there are other human rights violations happening within the country and around the world. It’s great that Syria is taking this step, but we must urge them to take additional steps to protect and to investigate human rights violations. You can urge Syria to take those steps at tomorrow’s letter writing meeting.

Letter Writing Meeting Topics

  • Two urgent actions regarding forced disappearances in Syria
  • Imminent executions in India
  • Possible execution of a mentally impaired man in the United States
  • Torture risk in Uzbekistan
  • Forced disappearance in Mexico

Letter Writing Meeting Details

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.