On December 19th, the students of the Communities program are hosting a human rights letter writing event in the Jesse Hooper Auditorium Oshkosh North High School. In a gallery walk format, the 9th and 10th graders will be educating students from social studies class and Oshkosh community members on human rights several cases. They are hoping to elicit action and advocate for those whose rights have been violated. Community members and North social studies classes are invited to come between the hours of 8:30 am – 3:30 pm.
The event is a part of Amnesty International’s Write for Rights campaign, the world’s largest letter writing event. Every year around Human Rights Day on December 10th, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders and others at risk of human rights violations.
This year’s cases include a indigenous and environmentalist advocacy group from Honduras, an online activist serving a life sentence for fighting government corruption in Chad; a transgender activist in Finland, a Chinese lawyer supporting those who are forced from homes because of the 2008 Olympics; and two Palestinian men dedicated to nonviolence facing harassment from Israeli security forces.
Letters have the power to change lives, and throughout Amnesty International’s 55 years of human rights activism, many people have been freed because of the action taken by activists who participate in Write for Rights. Several cases from last year’s Write for Rights have already been freed, including Congolese pro-democracy activists Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala, human rights activists once facing the death penalty; Albert Woodfox, subjected to over 4 decades of solitary confinement in Louisiana; and Phyoe Phyoe Aung, a prisoner of conscience and student leader in Myanmar.
Follow @CommunitiesONHS, Amnesty International USA on Twitter or visit the Communities at Oshkosh North Facebook page for more information.
Communities is an interdisciplinary, project-based program at Oshkosh North High School offering students a unique way to learn English, social studies, and leadership content and skills through community engagement. Communities students investigate and engage in community problems through collaboration with businesses, organizations, and members of the community in an effort to provide authentic learning experiences while improving the local, national, and global community.
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
Submitted: Rick Leib is a co-founder and social studies instructor within the Communities at Oshkosh North program. He has taught at Oshkosh North for 24 years.