By Rachel Taber
Amnesty International is an organization at Lawrence whose goal is to raise awareness of places where people are forbidden basic human rights. They usually meet on Monday or Tuesday evenings and plan fundraisers such as Jamnesty, Write-a-Thon and One Million Rising.
“Its main point is to spread word about human rights and to get people to learn about it, help spread the word about it and then act on it,” said sophomore and co-president Audrey Cuthbert. “Basically, we’re wanting to pop the Lawrence bubble a little bit and get international news and human rights in and help the campus learn about it, and maybe they feel motivated to help.”
Amnesty International is currently working on a project involving Ferguson, Mo. “We were trying to get a very current issue, kind of local to some students here and bring it in. I know personally I’ve had problems where I came here and I stopped hearing about it, and that’s a huge thing. I hated that,” Cuthbert said. “So we’re trying to get the big issue that everyone should really know about and get Lawrence to know about it better.”
“[Jamnesty] is a music festival that we put on to raise money as well as sign actions like petitions, sign letters, write letters to governments around the world that are denying human rights,” Cuthbert said. “It’s been pretty successful, we’ve gotten different organizations involved in the past.”
Amnesty had originally planned to have their Jamnesty event revolve around Ferguson and take place on Friday, Oct. 10, although now it has been cancelled and they are feeling unclear about when it will happen. It is possible it will happen this term though it may also happen during the Spring Term. If this occurs Amnesty will have a smaller event for Ferguson this term and Jamnesty will cover a different human rights topic.
In general, Amnesty International is a group looking to make known on campus the injustices around the world that students may otherwise not find out about. “I think we need to focus on getting Amnesty established as an organization because it’s been around for a long time, people keep forgetting about us,” Cuthbert said. “The main point of Amnesty is to try to break people from just thinking about academics all the time.”
“I want to remember that I’m more than just a student, and that ultimately we’re all humans and we need to help each other, and the aspect that we all have human rights at the end of the day that’s how we can all relate,” concluded Cuthbert. “By joining amnesty it’s a nice break. I’m part of something bigger I’m not just here to get good a grade.”