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Thursday, May 28, 2020

Club spotlight: Western Amnesty club

By Alaena Fletcher

Only seven members made it to the meeting on Monday, but that did not stop the small group from getting right to business.

The Western Amnesty club is aiding in the fight against human rights injustices around the world.

Hoku Rivera, one of the club organizers, said the club does a lot of outreach and education in the community.

Photo courtesy of Western Amnesty club

“We do urgent actions, which are small activities we do to help campaigns that are going on with amnesty international,” Rivera said. “We do letter writing to government officials, such as asking for better gun regulations and a few rallies, petitions, tabling. We also help out in the community in any way we can.”

The club recently helped organize the March for Our Lives rally in downtown Bellingham which protested gun violence in schools. The rally ran into issues with accessibility for people with disabilities, according to junior and club organizer Maddie Rackers. This related to Monday’s topic of disability awareness and education.

The group took the meeting outside to enjoy the sun and made plans for an upcoming panel called “Intersections and Human Rights Activism.”

“We’re going to bring people together from multiple communities to have a discussion on social equity,” Rackers said. “It’s about what that looks like between different communities and how you can be more intersectional in your activism.”

The club is pursuing speakers from organizations for the panel including De-Escalate Washington, Black Lives Matter Bellingham and the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center. The panel is planned for the weekend before dead week of spring quarter.

Last quarter, Western Amnesty did a tabling event in Red Square, focusing on bystander intervention in racial situations. They also helped host the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival last fall.

Photo courtesy of Western Amnesty club

According to the organizers, the club is meant to make young people feel more empowered to make a difference. They work to make getting involved more tangible for students.

Junior Marissa Johnson joined last year and has been participating in meetings and events when she can.

“I joined because I wanted to be involved in the community and it sounded like something I wanted to be a part of,” Johnson said.

The club meets every Monday at 5 p.m. in Miller Hall. The room changes, but updates are made to the group’s Facebook page weekly.

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