Temple University isn’t known for having an active student body, and this is one of the reasons why senior Amber Breiner started a chapter of Amnesty International on campus.
“There was a need for it,” Breiner said. “There was no other group on campus for political issues.”
Amnesty International is a group devoted to protecting the human rights established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“I think that we have helped in small ways here and there on campus,” Breiner said. “Even just talking one-on-one with people helps create awareness.”
This year alone, Amnesty has held a panel discussion about the current and future implications of the Sept. 11 attacks and co-sponsored a Bisexuality Awareness Month with S-FLAG in February.
Today, March 28, at 4 p.m., Amnesty is sponsoring an event called “Patriot Act: Gonna Get Your Mama.” There will be a critical examination of the Patriot Act and its implications in relation to similar historical precedence like the Red Scare.
“We will be hosting a panel discussion/teach-in about the implications as far as civil liberties are concerned,” said Lydia Keaney, a second-year student and organizer of this event. “There will be a discussion about the history of acts like this that can be and have been used to limit free speech.”
The discussion will be moderated by a Temple student in the group, with a panel of Temple professors.
Other methods the group has used to create awareness on campus include letter writing, tabling around campus and petitioning.
“Amnesty International received news that 50 men in Egypt were arrested for being gay,” Keaney said. “We petitioned on their behalf, demanding their release.”
“Amnesty is a great opportunity to get involved and do something on campus,” Breiner said.
During Bisexuality Awareness Month, the group tabled on campus to create awareness about the human rights infringements against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
This group does not limit the issues they address.
“It’s such an umbrella organization,” Breiner said. “Whatever we want to address at the time, we can.”
“Amnesty is about letting abusers and torturers know that we know what’s going on, and to demand for it to end by telling people what it’s about,” Keaney said.
Amnesty holds meetings in the Honors Lounge every other Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. The next meeting will be on April 3. New members are always welcome. For more information, contact Lydid Keaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Maisler can be reached at email@example.com