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Human Rights events in 2015!!!!

Stay tuned: on March 3rd, our ad hoc planning committee is gathering to get started on some events and activities in 2015!!!

We’ll post possible events and calls for help in making them happen!

Things like speaker panels, film screenings/talks, poetry readings, music events and MORE!

If you have a great idea for an event OR a group we can partner with on something, email Ayres or Chris:

We are not big on capacity right now (let’s hope that changes in the warmer months!), but big on IDEAS and we’d love to do events that offer a local + international connection.

Reading the Names of the Missing in Ayotzinapa

Brenda Sólkez reads the names of the 46 Mexican students, who were killed or missing from Ayotzinapa, during Amnesty International Pittsburgh’s Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival.

Not enough investigation was done, and the government has closed the case. However, human rights groups are demanding answers and justice for innocents killed or disappeared.



Write for Rights 2014 Case # 9 & 10: Police Brutality & Gun Violence in Chicago

Join Amnesty Int’l Pittsburgh tonight from 6-9 pm at Calvary Episcopal Church at Shady & Walnut for our 28th annual Write-a-thon and Human Rights Festival. In addition to attempting to reach our goal of 1,000 letters for this year’s human rights cases, we will have Mayor Peduto as a special guest, along with a performance by artist Vanessa German.  City Council Proclamation and Candlelight Ceremony at 7 pm, with a special presentation acknowledging the 43 missing Mexican students afterwards.
Food & drink and all materials provided – just bring yourself!


Write for Rights 2014

Case # 9 & 10 – Police Brutality and Gun Violence in Chicago:
Darrell Cannon & Anthony Holmes
Hadiya Pendleton

Darrell Cannon & Anthony Holmes
Between 1972 and 1991, Chicago police under the direction of former Commander Jon Burge systematically tortured more than 100 people of color on Chicago’s South Side. Darrell Cannon and Anthony Holmes are just two of the survivors of Burge’s legacy of racist torture.
In May of 1972, Burge and his fellow officers repeatedly shocked Anthony with an electric shock box referred to by the detectives as the “ni**er box.” They wrapped the wires around his shackles while suffocating him with a plastic bag. Anthony passed out from the pain. When he regained consciousness, Anthony confessed to a murder he did not commit. His confession kept him behind bars for thirty years.
On November 2, 1983, three Chicago Police Department detectives tortured Darrell at a remote site on Chicago’s South Side. They pressed a cattle prod to his testicles and put it into his mouth. The officers attempted to lift him off the ground by handcuffs behind his back. They repeatedly made him believe that they had loaded a shotgun and rammed in into his mouth, pulling the trigger which, at each click, made him think his head was about to be blown off. Like Anthony, Darrell falsely confessed – and spent 24 years in prison on the basis of his confession.
Neither Burge nor any of the detectives under his command have been prosecuted for torture. Not one of the torture survivors have received the reparations (financial compensation, psychological counseling, vocational training) needed to make them whole, as required by international law. Now, the Chicago City council can finally address this ugly chapter in the City’s history by passing the Reparations Ordinance for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors. Help us put pressure on the Chicago authorities – the time to act is now!
Hadiya Pendleton
Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed at the age of 15. She is one of over 11,000 victims of firearm-related homicides in the United States every year.
On January 29, 2013, just after finishing her final exams, sophomore Hadiya Pendleton went to Chicago’s Vivian Gordon Harsh Park with her friends. Soon after their arrival, an assailant opened fire on the group. Hadiya was shot in the back and died from her wounds a short time later. The men accused of firing at the teens reportedly mistook the group as for a rival gang.
Hadiya was an Honors student, a volleyball player, an avid reader, a dreamer. The week before her death, as a baton-twirling majorette in her school’s marching band, she visited Washington, D.C. to participate in several events in honor of Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration. In the wake of this tragedy, her parents Nate and Cleo Pendleton have founded Hadiya’s Promise. The non-profit focuses on addressing gun violence and those who are often the perpetrators of gun violence – disaffected youth.
In 2015, Amnesty International will launch a campaign to end gun violence in the United States. The Youth Prison Reduction through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support, and Education Act (“Youth PROMISE Act”) will fund, implement, and evaluate evidence-based, locally controlled youth and gang violence prevention and intervention programs. By addressing the root causes of gun violence we can help ensure that young people like Hadiya will make it home from school safe and live out the promise of their dreams.




Write for Rights 2014 Case #8: Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning


Transgender US Army Private Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013, after leaking classified US government material to the website Wikileaks. Some of the documents pointed to potential human rights violations and breaches of humanitarian law by US troops abroad, the CIA, and Afghan and Iraqi forces operating alongside the US army.

Chelsea says she was trying to spark a meaningful debate on the costs of war and raise awareness of US military conduct in Iraq and Afghanistan. She believed that that she was exposing abuses by releasing the information, but she wasn’t allowed to present evidence that she was acting in the public interest. In fact, Chelsea couldn’t even explain her motives until the sentencing phase of her trial. What’s more, she was overcharged with offenses including ‘aiding the enemy’. It seems that her prosecution was meant to send a harsh warning to other potential whistleblowers seeking to expose U.S. Government wrongdoing.

Chelsea spent three years in detention, awaiting trial. For eleven months she endured conditions described by a UN expert on torture as ‘cruel and inhumane’. These included isolation in solitary confinement – 23 hours a day in a small cell with no window to the outside.

The US has spent far too long punishing Chelsea for revealing potential human rights abuses. She should be shown clemency and government officials should focus their energies on investigating the alleged abuses she exposed.