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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tell Congress: DREAM big



Amnesty International
 
Make the DREAM Act come true for young immigrants in the U.S.
 


For 11 long years, Congress has debated the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, a bipartisan bill that offers a path to citizenship for young immigrants.

The DREAM Act protects responsible young adults from the constant threat of deportation and removes barriers to their rights to work and education. President Obama has promised to sign the bill into law.

The DREAM Act has sparked hostile opposition from an emboldened anti-immigrant movement that has fueled a spate of dangerous and xenophobic laws that trample immigrants' rights and jeopardize the rights of minority and indigenous communities.

As supporters of human rights, it's up to us to stand strong in the face of these attacks and secure this important reform to our immigration system.

Urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act without delay.

All immigrants, irrespective of their legal status, or which side of the border they are on, have human rights. Yet -- as documented in Amnesty's new report, In Hostile Terrain: Human Rights Violations in Immigrant Enforcement in the U.S. Southwest -- those rights are under threat from federal, state and local authorities.

Our research shows a pervasive view among law enforcement officials of all immigrants as criminals -- even when immigrants are victims of crime, such as survivors of trafficking and domestic violence. Raped then deported?
It happens so often that many immigrants don't even report these crimes.

Passing the DREAM Act is a small but important step towards a fair and just approach to U.S. immigration policy reform. As anti-immigrant fervor reaches a fever pitch, we're counting on people like you to speak up in support of U.S. immigration policy that respects human rights.

Let 2012 be the year we finally secure the DREAMers' future. Urge your members of Congress to vote "Yes" for the DREAM Act.

In solidarity,

Tanuka Loha
Director, Immigrants' Rights are Human Rights Campaign
Amnesty International USA

PS - To learn more about our new Immigrants' Rights are Human Rights Campaign and read the report in full, visit www.amnestyusa.org/immigrantsrights.

  It's time. Pass the DREAM Act.

Your action today could make all the difference for young immigrants tomorrow. Stand up for human rights -- urge Congress to vote "Yes" on the DREAM Act.


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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My name is not Alissa




 
Change.org
When I was 16, I was sold for sex against my will on a website called Backpage.com, the biggest website for child sex trafficking ads in America. Tell Village Voice Media, owners of Backpage, to shut down their sex ads now.
Sign the Petition
Start a Petition
Every week, thousands of people start petitions about issues they care about on Change.org. You can too.Click here to start your own petition
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.  I am one of many girls who have been exploited and sold for sex online. And I was sold for sex on a website called Backpage.com, which makes $22 million a year from ads for prostitution.
You should know that my name is not Alissa. I’m afraid that if I use my real name, the pimps who used to sell me for sex will hunt me down and kill me. I am also afraid that Village Voice Media (which owns Backpage) will ruin my life and come after me as they have others who have stood up for girls who have been sold on Backpage.
But I’m even more afraid that if I don’t tell my story, no one will rise up to stop the people who buy and sell girls like me.
I was 16 when I met my first pimp -- he told me I was pretty, that he wanted me to be his girlfriend. I was just a kid, and I believed him. But soon he was selling me for sex every day: I was raped 365 days a year.
I was sold to other pimps, back and forth between them like an animal. One pimp gouged my cheek with a potato peeler as a warning not to run away, but after two years I worked up the courage and ran anyway. He tracked me down and beat me and stomped on me, breaking my ribs and jaw. That’s when I went to the police.
It’s still hard for me to believe that this web page exists, that it’s so easy for pimps to sell terrified, unwilling girls like me. Can you go buy a child at Wal-Mart? Of course not, but you can buy me on Backpage.
There is some hope, though: Craigslist used to host ads for girls like me, but after people started speaking out, Craigslist shut down their adult section. A new study says that prostitution ads as a whole have gone down by 50% since Craigslist got out of the business. 50%! If men can’t use sites like Backpage.com to buy and sell girls, maybe fewer girls will be bought and sold.
Now, I’m in college, and work at a nonprofit, FAIR Girls, where I help other girls like me -- I even got to tell my story to Nick Kristof at The New York Times. I got out, which makes me one of the lucky ones. But Backpage is still making millions a year off the ones who aren’t so lucky. I see these teenage girls, some as young as 15, every day now in my work, and it breaks my heart.
Thanks,
Alissa

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Our son Trayvon




 
Change.org
More than 1.5 million people have signed Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton's petition demanding that their son's confessed killer be arrested. A federal investigation has been announced. Thousands have rallied and marched around the country. Every major news outlet in America has covered his story. President Obama even spoke to the tragedy of Trayvon's senseless death: "If I had a son," said the president, "he'd look like Trayvon."
But one thing still hasn't happened -- Trayvon's killer still has not been brought to justice.
On Monday, Tracy and Sybrina are going straight to Sanford's leaders to demand justice for Trayvon, and they're bringing their petition with more than one and a half million signatures -- will add yours? Click here to sign their petition.
You can read much more about this case in the email from Tracy and Sybrina below.
Thanks,
- Jon and the Change.org team
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton
Date: Thu, Mar 22, 2012
Subject: Our son Trayvon
Our son Trayvon Martin was killed because he looked "suspicious." His confessed killer is still free. Join 1,500,000 people to call on Florida law enforcement officials to prosecute the man who took away our son.
Sign the Petition
Dear Dwijendra,
Our son didn't deserve to die.  Trayvon Martin was just 17 years old when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Trayvon wasn't doing anything besides walking home with a bag of Skittles and some iced tea in his hands.

What makes Trayvon's death so much harder is knowing that the man who confessed to killing him, George Zimmerman, still hasn't been charged for Trayvon's killing.

That's why we started a petition on Change.org calling for Zimmerman's prosecution and trial. We aren't looking for revenge, we're looking for justice -- the same justice anyone would expect if their son were shot and killed for no reason.

Click here to join 1,500,000 people who have already signed our petition calling for justice for our son Trayvon.


No family should ever have to go through this nightmare. The law should protect everyone, regardless of where they live, how much money they make, or what color their skin is.
With our petition at 1,500,000 signers so far, we've made important progress toward making some sense out of what happened. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate Trayvon's death, and so will the FBI and Department of Justice.

But Trayvon's killer is still free. The surest path to justice runs through Sanford, Florida. With your help, we believe they'll have no choice but to give Trayvon and his killer their days in court.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Our son Trayvon





 
Change.org
Our son Trayvon Martin was killed because he looked "suspicious." His confessed killer is still free. Join 900,000 people to call on Florida law enforcement officials to prosecute the man who took away our son.
Sign our Petition
Our son didn't deserve to die.  Trayvon Martin was just 17 years old when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Trayvon wasn't doing anything besides walking home with a bag of Skittles and some iced tea in his hands.

What makes Trayvon's death so much harder is knowing that the man who confessed to killing him, George Zimmerman, still hasn't been charged for Trayvon's killing.

That's why we started a petition on Change.org calling for Zimmerman's prosecution and trial. We aren't looking for revenge, we're looking for justice -- the same justice anyone would expect if their son were shot and killed for no reason.

Click here to join 900,000 people who have already signed our petition calling for justice for our son Trayvon.

No family should ever have to go through this nightmare. The law should protect everyone, regardless of where they live, how much money they make, or what color their skin is.

With our petition at 900,000 signers so far, we've made important progress toward making some sense out of what happened. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate Trayvon's death, and so will the FBI and Department of Justice.

But Trayvon's killer is still free. The surest path to justice runs through Sanford, Florida, and through the office of State's Attorney Norman Wolfinger, who is responsible for bringing charges against Zimmerman. With your help, we believe he'll have no choice but to give Trayvon and his killer their days in court.

Please sign our petition calling on Florida authorities to prosecute our son's confessed killer.

Thank you so much.

- Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why was George Clooney willing to get arrested?



Amnesty International
 
What was actor George Clooney doing in jail, while Sudan's president and indicted war crimes suspect Omar al-Bashir runs free?
 
The Internet was abuzz on Friday with the news. Actor George Clooney was arrested, along with members of Congress and other civil society leaders, while protesting human rights violations in Sudan at a Washington, DC, rally attended by Amnesty International and other NGOs.

But they got the wrong man.

The real suspect? Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who remains at large despite being indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

As Sudanese civilians suffer from starvation and indiscriminate bombing attacks, al-Bashir continues on as Sudan's head of state, leaving war crimes in his wake and travelling the globe with impunity.

No more hiding in plain sight, President al-Bashir.

It's time to arrest Omar al-Bashir and the three other Sudanese wanted by the International Criminal Court and surrender them to the ICC for trial. Tell the United Nations that as long as war crimes suspects are on the loose, civilians will continue to be at grave risk. 

The longer it takes to bring fugitives like al-Bashir to justice, the longer civilians suffer. In Sudan, civilians are under fire as Sudanese Armed Forces -- under the leadership of yes, Omar al-Bashir -- conduct devastating and indiscriminate bombing raids.

And the humanitarian crisis in Sudan is escalating. Livelihoods have been ruined after years of Sudan's war-torn chaos, and al-Bashir's self-imposed blockade on humanitarian aid to the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile regions puts countless people at risk of hunger or starvation.

Friday's rally in response to the dire human rights situation in Sudan was inspiring. More than a hundred activists joined George Clooney, congressional human rights champions, and Amnesty's NGO partners to shine a light on Sudan's ongoing human rights crisis.

Our message was clear -- fugitives from international justice like al-Bashir can no longer be allowed to commit the worst crimes under international law with impunity. They must be brought to justice.

Inaction has proven deadly in a suffering Sudan. But with your help, the next high-profile arrest will be of a criminal fugitive from the ICC, not a Hollywood celebrity.

Join us in calling on the United Nations to step up its efforts to advance peace and justice by providing the necessary support to make the arrest of Omar al-Bashir -- and his fellow ICC fugitives -- a long-awaited reality. 

For justice,

Scott Edwards
Advocacy, Policy and Research
Amnesty International USA

 Wanted

What do Amnesty and George Clooney have in common? We both want to see Sudanese war crimes suspects brought to justice. Tell the UN to protect civilians in Sudan and bring to justice President Omar al-Bashir and other war crimes suspects.


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Fried whale meat for sale on Yahoo!



 
Change.org
Help Melissa stop Yahoo! from selling slaughtered dolphins and whales.
Sign the Petition
Yahoo! is selling whale hearts and other products made from slaughtered whales and dolphins in Japan.
If you can stomach it, imagine fishermen who use boats to drive groups of dolphins and whales into a shallow cove. They block access back to the ocean using boats and nets, and then they get into the water and slaughter the animals, one by one, until the water turns red with their blood.
Melissa Sehgal is in Japan working to stop these cruel hunts. Recently, her petition on Change.org helped convince Amazon.com to ban all whale and dolphin meat on its site -- now she needs your help to stop Yahoo! executives from making a single penny more from the suffering of whales and dolphins.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Pulin and the Change.org Team

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I was bullied




 


 
Change.org
The documentary “Bully” should be rated PG-13 -- not R. Join me in asking the MPAA to change its rating.
                                            
Sign the Petition
I was bullied a lot in middle school. Five years ago, it got so bad that four guys came up behind me, called me awful names and slammed my hand in my locker, breaking my finger. The worst part is, I felt so terrified and alone that I couldn't even tell my parents the truth about what happened.
So when I saw the new documentary Bully, which was produced to stop bullying, it felt so good to know that the filmmakers were telling the stories of kids like me. I think that every kid should see Bully. That’s why I was shocked to learn that it was given an "R" rating because some of the bullies in the film use bad words.
The past two weeks have been incredible. I've been on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, CBS, and The Ellen Show. Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Justin Bieber, Randy Jackson, Demi Lovato, and Drew Brees -- as well as 29 members of Congress, led by Rep. Mike Honda -- have said publicly that they agree with my campaign.
But even after all that, the MPAA hasn't budged. I got to meet with one of their executives last week, and she told me that they have to keep things "consistent." Maybe she thought that I would give up, or that I'm just 17, so how much can I really change anyway? But I know that if we keep up the pressure, the MPAA will have no choice but to admit that being "consistent" isn't as important as letting kids see a movie that could literally save lives.
Thanks for your help. Knowing that all these people are standing with me, I don't feel alone or afraid anymore.
-Katy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tell Russia: Stop fueling Assad's Syrian slaughter





Amnesty International
 
Syria bleeds. Will ally Russia stand in silence or solidarity with Syria's people?
 
When will Russia do right by the people of Syria?

In the six weeks since Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution condemning Syria's bloody crackdown, 1,179 Syrians have been killed. Amnesty International has received the names of well over 6,500 people killed since March 2011.

On Tuesday Russia vowed to keep pumping arms into the country -- arms used to massacre civilians. Russia claims Syrian president Bashar al-Assad needs them to defend against opposition fighters.

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of human rights abuses have been committed by state security forces. Amnesty has documented an extremely disturbing -- near medieval -- pattern of torture and humiliation of anyone merely suspected of opposing the government.

Satellite imagery from Homs and Hama show civilian neighborhoods pocked with artillery impact craters. Field guns are still trained on residential areas and armed forces have not been removed from cities, in direct defiance of a UN General Assembly resolution from mid-February.

It's time for Russia to stop opposing strong action by the UN Security Council to end the violence in Syria.

Urge Russia to help end the human rights catastrophe in Syria.

While Russia defies international pleas for cooperation, evidence mounts of widespread crimes against humanity committed by security forces.

Amnesty's new report "'I Wanted to Die': Syria's Torture Survivors Speak Out" details systemic and horrific abuses committed in Syria's detention centers. Former detainees (men and women) interviewed by Amnesty said that they had either experienced or witnessed 31 methods of torture and other ill-treatment:
"I was very badly beaten. They used pincers to remove flesh from my legs." - Karim

"We were hung from wood -- crucified -- while blindfolded and handcuffed, and then beaten mercilessly for several hours." - Musleh

"I could hear people screaming from the torture, which was worse than physical torture." - Abd al-Baset
Russia can make a difference in Syria. It must.

Join Amnesty as we ratchet up the pressure on the Russian government. Sign our petition urging Russia to use its influence to bring an end to the grave human rights violations being committed in Syria.

Thank you for all you do to stand up for human rights.

Sanjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East & North Africa
Amnesty International USA


 It's Russia's move.

In Syria, new evidence of crimes against humanity is emerging. The price of Russia's silence is sharply increasing. Urge Russia to use its influence to help bring an end to the humanitarian crisis in Syria.




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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Arizona survivors fight illegal guns




 
Change.org
Patricia Malsch and 14 other survivors and family members of the Tucson shooting have started a petition on Change.org, asking the President to meet with them to discuss how to prevent future gun tragedies.
Sign Pat's Petition
Patricia Maisch was on the Safeway sidewalk in Tucson, Arizona when Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 18 other people were shot. Pat pulled the ammunition clip away from the shooter, saving innocent lives. She survived the attack. Six people did not.
In response to the tragedy, President Obama wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star one year ago today, calling on Congress to fix our broken background check system and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Congress hasn't acted. And 14,000 more Americans were murdered with guns since the Tucson shooting. 
Today, Patricia and 14 other survivors and family members have started a petition on Change.org, asking the President to meet with them to discuss how to prevent future tragedies like those in Tucson, Columbine, and at Virginia Tech. 
A meeting with the President will raise the profile of this issue and make real progress much more likely. But it's up to you to make sure Pat can get the President's attention. Click here to sign Pat's petition, then forward this email to everyone you know. 
Thanks, 
Patrick and the Change.org team
_________
Here's more info from Pat, in her own words: 
One year ago today, President Obama wrote an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star that meant the world to me and my fellow Tucson survivors.
He called on Washington to come together in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting and to fix our broken background check system. Sadly, nothing has come of his bold words.  Even more sadly, while we’ve waited on Congress to implement his commonsense plan to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, another 14,000 Americans were murdered with guns.
That’s why I joined with 14 other Tucson survivors and family members to write our own op-ed in today’s Arizona Daily Star. We’re asking the President to meet with us to discuss how, together, we can help put an end to such senseless tragedies -- and we need your help to encourage him to accept our invitation.
Please read our open letter to President Obama, then add your name to ours to strengthen our request that he meet with Tucson survivors and families.
Our goal is for 50,000 supporters to add their voices to our invitation. When the President accepts, I’ll present him with the names of everyone who has signed.  Will you stand with us and add your name right now?
In his op-ed, the President laid out a clear plan:
“We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system  for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure  that criminals can't escape it.”
Now is our chance to help him turn that plan into reality and end the cycle of violence that has etched places like Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson and -- just last month -- Chardon on the minds of all Americans.
Your support will truly touch our hearts.  





Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kony - turn awareness into action




Amnesty International
 
Urge Obama to renew pressure on governments in Central Africa to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
 
A viral video exposing the horrors wrought by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has triggered an avalanche of attention, bringing awareness to tens of millions of people in just a week's time. Now Amnesty needs your help to transform unprecedented public awareness into meaningful action.

For more than two decades, Amnesty International has documented the abuses committed by the Lord's Resistance Army and their horrific impact on the lives of countless civilians in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan.

The LRA's crimes are atrocious - mutilation, abduction, torture, rape, sexual slavery, pillaging, the conscription of children under the age of 15, and intentionally directing attacks against civilians.

The International Criminal Court indicted Kony and four other LRA leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005. But despite persistent calls for his arrest from Amnesty and other human rights groups, Kony and other LRA indictees have remained at large for nearly seven years.

But Kony is just the tip of the iceberg in a region that has for decades been fraught with conflict and impunity. In the countries in which the LRA has operated since it was flushed out of Uganda - the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan - both government forces and other armed groups like the LRA have been responsible for decades of violence and abuses against civilians, including the abduction and forced recruitment of child soldiers, with little to no accountability. Further, the unregulated trade in small weapons and ammunition has ensured that guns and bullets are easy to obtain.

Last week, the Obama administration congratulated the organization behind the viral internet campaign targeted at Kony and reasserted its commitment to end the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army in Central Africa.1

But the White House must also pressure governments in the region by withholding military aid until they can demonstrate that they are taking concrete action to stop recruiting child soldiers, to demobilize or release children who are already part of government forces, and to bring those who recruit child soldiers to justice. Action is particularly crucial in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where children have died while carrying ammunition and supplies through the jungle for government forces.2

Call on President Obama to enforce legislation aimed at ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers today.

In solidarity,
Adotei Akwei
Director of Government Relations and International Advocacy
Amnesty International USA

P.S. - Join me tomorrow from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Eastern for a live discussion about the Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and find out how you can help end abuses committed by armed groups and governments in Central Africa.

 No more Konys

Call on President Obama to enforce legislation aimed at ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers today.




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