By Christy Blevins
Amnesty International, a new club on Roanoke’s campus, held their first meeting last Saturday. The campus group is part of a larger world-wide group for human rights and often lobbies against violations of these rights. The Amnesty International club hopes to bring awareness of violations, and the opportunity to do something about it, to Roanoke.
About two years ago, Amnesty was a large part of Roanoke College, but it disappeared. Now, with advisor Joshua Rubongoya, the club has started back up.
Michalla Braford, President of Amnesty International at RC, said, “When I got accepted to Roanoke College I was excited about amnesty being on campus. [I wanted to start it back up because] I’m an extremely big supporter for human rights and I feel it’s a way to get past the textbooks and get out there and make a difference and amnesty provides that opportunity.”
Amnesty fights for everything included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including women’s rights. Amnesty is also against police brutality. The RC group has many things in store for the campus this semester and plans to have many interactive and discussion-based events. Currently, the group plans to host different women’s rights events during the week before, and leading up to, Valentine’s Day.
These events primarily focus on looking at women’s rights legislation in the US, the violent acts of honor killings, and giving students the opportunity to sign a rights petition. Among their plans for events, the group also is looking to hold a “Rights for rights” event to bring awareness to prisoners of conscious and unjustified arrests. They also plan to host a movie showing and discussions on torture in the future.
Currently the club has about 58 people signed up and interested in coming to the next group meeting on Feb. 7. A main goal of the club this semester is to get started out strong and increase their amount of meetings, amount of interest in students, and bring awareness of violations of rights to campus. So far they meet once a month, although that will change soon, according to Braford.
The club also supports other organizations on campus by supporting and partnering with events. These clubs include HEAT and supporting Hillel with the Israeli-Palestine Conflict event.
All students are eligible to join Amnesty on campus and the fastest way to become involved is to join the Org Sync Amnesty page. Interested students can also email Braford with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Everyone is welcome and we all have the ability and capacity to make a difference,” said Braford.