NORTH COUNTY CHAPTER AIUSA 471
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACTS: Alessandra Colfi (760) 724-0319
November 12, 2013 Kathy Ford (760) 277 0089
CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN ENDORSES LOCAL AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL GROUP 471
WITH COMMEMORATIVE MESSAGE:
"…the positive effect of your work…does make the world community
and everyone's freedom of expression safer."
FORMER ARGENTINEAN PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS PROFESSOR TO HEADLINE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL'S 25TH ANNUAL WALK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN OCEANSIDE NOVEMBER 17 TH.
The North County Chapter of Amnesty International Group 471 will be hosting their 25th Annual Candlelight Walk for Human Rights; "Past, Present & Future" on Sunday, November 17th at the Junior Seau Plaza Amphitheater and Pier in Oceanside beginning at 5pm. Amnesty International is an impartial grassroots organization of 3 million volunteers worldwide working to protect human rights globally. It will be the 25th year the local chapter has organized the free event for the public, billed as an evening of education, inspiration, action and hope.
The event begins with a reception with refreshments and live African music by Akayaa & Bolga Zohdoomah. At this time participants can gather information on Amnesty's work, visit the tables of the event's endorsers as well as "adopt" their person for the night, someone from one of fifty countries whose human rights are currently being violated by their governments. The vast majority of these individuals are deemed "Prisoners of Conscience", detained, imprisoned and sometimes tortured or killed for peacefully expressing themselves. Others may be "disappeared" by their governments, facing execution, forced displacement or receiving threats for their peaceful work. Each participant will receive a placard with information on their "adoptee" they can later use to write an appeal on their behalf.
The reception is followed by a program of speakers beginning at 5:30.
Former Prisoner of Conscience Nestor Fantini was an educator and journalist in Argentina during the "dirty wars" of the 1970's. He was arrested, tortured and held by the military for four years. As a political prisoner in Cordoba's UPI, he witnessed General Menendez's soldiers extra-judicially executing 30 of his fellow prisoners. He was adopted by Amnesty International and following extensive letter writing campaigns on his behalf, Fantini was finally released in 1979. He later married a woman who had worked for his release with her Amnesty chapter in Austin, Texas, causing some to nickname their child the "Amnesty Kid." They now reside in California.
Dr. Rick Halperin is the Director of the Embrey Human Rights Program at SMU where he teaches courses on human rights in the History Department. He has a doctorate in philosophy and is an internationally recognized authority on human rights, genocide, slavery, human trafficking and the death penalty. He has been a member of Amnesty for 35 years, active in the Dallas chapter since 1985, and has served twice as the Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA. At an early age Halperin was exposed to human rights issues, growing up in the South during the civil rights struggle. In Prague he personally witnessed the self-immolation of Jan Palach, who killed himself to protest the Soviet invasion
of Czechoslavakia, and after serving as an exchange student in Chile, three members of his host family were later
killed during Pinochet's overthrow of the Allende government. A passionate human rights activist, Halperin says
about the movement; "while it is ultimately a struggle to change the human heart, we must first work to open
people's eyes to rights abuses."
The program ends with the presentation of the 2013 Digna Ochoa Human Rights Defender Award to Erica Glennon. A graduate of Oceanside High and a 25 year teacher at Rancho Buena Vista High School, the chapter will recognize the enormous contribution Ms. Glennon has made introducing her students to global human rights issues. She has inspired and encourage many to get involved or volunteer at the Walk, and in recent years her students have prepared the 1,000s of prisoner placards the participants carry each year. Ms. Glennon teaches International Baccaluarate History of the Americas, Government and Economics and serves as the AVID Coordinator at RBVHS. She holds a BA in Political Science from UCSD and a Masters in Latin American Studies from SDSU.
Following the speakers, participants will be invited to join in a symbolic candlelight "freedom" walk on the pier, and then encouraged to go home and write an appeal for their "adopted" person. The event is free and held rain or shine, and all are encouraged to dress warmly. For more info: (858) 735-5708 or (760) 277-0089 or:
*Speakers may be available for pre-event phone interviews.
Please contact Alessandra Colfi, Media Committee Chair, at (858) 735-5708
or Kathy Ford, Group Coordinator, at (760) 277-0089 to arrange.