Defending Freedom

DM’s Amnesty Club a place to advocate for human rights


Courtesy of Amnesty International

NO AMNESTY FOR RIGHTS: DM has launched Amnesty Club, which, like its inspiration, Amnesty International, fights for all human rights. “In light of recent events, I feel like the school was missing a club that advocated for human rights and human rights is a universal thing” said junior Elalaoui-Pinedo, president of the club. To join the club, text @amnestydm to 81010 or email [email protected]

Matthew Colvin, Staff writer

Black lives Matter. LGBTQ+ rights. Advocacy for immigrants.
Name a human right–and Amnesty International is likely fighting for it.
“We are fighting for everybody,” said Dora Elalaoui-Pinedo, leader of DM’s Amnesty Club. “and that human rights violations stop happening everywhere.”
While Elalaoui-Pinedo is fighting for amnesty everywhere at a smaller, local level here at DM, there is a much larger international campaign. Amnesty International describes itself as “a global movement of more than seven million people in over 150 countries and territories who campaign to end abuses of human rights.” A short list of the many causes Amnesty advocates for include: LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, End SARS and freedom of expression everywhere.
‘The school needs a human rights club’
“In light of recent events, I feel like the school was missing a club that advocated for human rights and human rights is a universal thing” Elalaoui-Pinedo, a junior. “So I think what inspired me this year was a lot of things like the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 election, and the momentum gained by the BLM movement. I was like the school needs one of those, needs a human rights club.”
Members said they joined because talking about change isn’t enough, said junior Laura Nikson.
“I joined Amnesty Club because, now more than ever,” Nikson said. “it is important to not only educate yourself regarding politics and human rights, but to actively demand justice.”
Current events triggered many members’ involvement.
“I’ve always wanted to get more involved in protecting human rights, especially after May 25, 2020. when George Floyd was murdered by a police officer,” says junior Josephine Meyers. “There was so much frustration during the past months with reading the countless lives lost due to police and ICE brutality through the screen of my phone and I wanted to take action.
Meyers realized that she could “make a difference by fighting for social justice and equality” by joining DM’s Amnesty chapter.
“Amnesty isn’t just a club,” Meyers said. “it’s a mission to secure the foundation of freedom and peace in the world.”

Amnesty isn’t just a club. It’s a mission to secure the foundation of freedom and peace in the world.

— Josephine Meyers

Setbacks from quarantine
The current coronavirus pandemic has drastically affected the dynamic of the Amnesty club meetings, as all meetings are online. “Which sucks cause I would love to see all the activists face to face, in-person,” said Elalaoui-Pinedo.
Even with these setbacks, Meyers said, “it’s been running great”.
“We have so much energy and passion every meeting and we are a tightly knit team,” Meyers said. “We work together really well; all of us have the same goal to protect the rights of humans and educate our fellow students of DMHS.”
The club still has big ideas in store; they are working with Amnesty International on a campaign called the “Right for Rights”. Elalaoui-Pinedo says this campaign will have members “write letters to people whose human rights were stripped away in different countries.”
‘Making society a better place’
Meyers said education is Amnesty’s biggest cause.
“Yeah, I know that’s sort of broad,” she admitted, “but the more citizens that are educated, the easier it is to bring change to injustice and the closer we get to making society a better place.”
“We are fighting for everybody and that human rights violations stop happening everywhere, anywhere, any time. We fight for everybody.” said Elalaoui-Pinedo.
“Amnesty Club has been thoroughly involved with the Black Lives Matter movement,” Nikson said, adding that Black Lives Matter is her most important cause.
“As a part of the Amnesty Social Media team, I have created several info-graphics with the intention of spreading information and awareness to our audience,” Nikson said. “I posted about Black LGBTQ+ activists, and black history moments that are often skipped-over, and therefore, not widely known.”
Elalaoui-Pinedo said the future is in good hands with these young activists.
“If you care about human rights, universal healthcare, things like equality definitely join our club to help advocate with us,” she said. “You’ll definitely get a lot of opportunities and experiences that you won’t get elsewhere.”