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June 11, 2018-Our next meeting!

amnestyThe Norfolk County Amnesty International Chapter (unchartered) will hold its second meeting on June 11, 2018 at 6pm. The meeting will once again be held at the Dedham Square Coffee House.

Contact Heather either through this site or via email.

Don’t forget to like our Facebook page for news, other groups’ postings, daily Urgent Actions, and more!

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ūüáģūüá™#RepealTheEighth Happened, but What About Northern Ireland?

Welcome Hometown Weekly readers!

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the-irish-flag-1172820On May 25, Ireland’s citizens voted to #RepealTheEighth and make abortion legal in Ireland.¬†¬†The Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O‚ÄôGorman said:

This is such an important vote for women’s dignity and bodily autonomy. At last, Ireland is free to create a legal and medical framework for abortion access that respects their human rights.

The people of Ireland have [recognized] the harm and suffering the Eighth Amendment has caused, and voted to end this.

We are proud and [honored] to have been part of this campaign in Ireland.

However, Amnesty International UK expressed concern that this vote does not apply to Northern Ireland, where abortion is still illegal.  There are two cases that Amnesty International Northern Ireland is involved with regarding this law:  a Supreme Court case arguing against the law and a mother who helped her minor child get abortion pills.

Do issues regarding gender rights interest you?  Join us at our next meeting!  Like our Facebook page for daily Urgent Actions, news, and more!

More about the Urgent Action: Clifton Williams

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today’s Urgent¬†Action of the Day¬†on our¬†Facebook¬†page was contacting the state of Texas¬†about¬†Clifton Williams‘ upcoming execution.¬†¬†Williams¬†was convicted¬†of beating and stabbing a¬†93-year-old¬†woman in 2005.¬† He also set her bed and corpse on fire.¬† He¬†was scheduled¬†to be¬†executed in 2015, but it¬†was halted.

Amnesty opposes his execution owing to the face that he is intellectually disabled (although IQ is a problematic measurement,¬†Williams’ IQ¬†has been measured¬†at under 70, the line for intellectual disability is 70 or below and used¬†in conjunction with¬†facts about their function.

The¬†state of Texas¬†has repeatedly tried to claim Williams is not intellectually disabled.¬† As such, today’s Urgent Action involved contacting Texas’ government.

” I was there, the caravan refugees are not criminals”

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The ongoing immigration debate, especially regarding people from Central America,  can be venomous and shouty. Migrant caravans were discussed on this blog previously.  In Michigan, a letter to the editor by immigration lawyer Laura Barrera refutes a previous letter which stated the belief that the migrants are criminals, and even accused Amnesty International lawyers in coaching migrant in how to violate US immigration laws (emphasis own):

I am sure of this because I was in Tijuana volunteering with the refugees hoping to seek asylum in the United States.

I was born and raised in Brighton and after graduating from Brighton High School in 2008, I went to the University of Michigan then Wayne State for law school. After graduating, I moved to Las Vegas where I practice deportation defense, specializing in children’s cases. Tijuana is only a short drive from Vegas so when I heard that the refugees in the caravan were going to present themselves at the U.S. border in Tijuana I wanted to help.

In Tijuana, I spoke with many refugees and organizers and I can say with confidence that the cartels were not involved whatsoever with this group and that no humans, drugs or weapons were being smuggled.

All of the people I spoke with were fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries and were simply seeking a life where they could be safe.

Further, all the attorneys were volunteers, like me, who wanted to help prepare the asylum-seekers for the complicated, broken, American immigration system so they would have the highest possible chance of success.

Many of these people will be killed if they are deported so the stakes are incredibly high in these cases. People have a legal right to seek asylum in the U.S. ‚Äď no laws were broken in this process and there was no ‘pandemonium,’ as the letter published last week asserted.

The asylum-seekers waited peacefully and respectfully to be allowed into the U.S. even after they were wrongly denied entry by border officials. I can say all of this with absolute certainty because I was there.

As a lawyer, I understand the importance of the First Amendment and free speech, however, as an immigration attorney I am often frustrated by the public dialogue surrounding immigration.

It is common to see opinions based solely in hate and misunderstanding presented as though they are facts. The consequences of this misinformation are extreme.

Parents of U.S. citizen children are taken from their families for reasons as simple and ridiculous as unpaid traffic tickets; children are deported alone to countries where they have been badly hurt and where they have no one to protect them; innocent people are kept in inhumane conditions in jails with no right to bond.

It‚Äôs easier and more comfortable to believe that most of the people coming to this country from Central America are criminals, however that’s simply not true.

Most of my clients, as well as the caravan members I spoke with, live by the same values I was raised with in Brighton ‚Äď they put family and faith above all else.

Once we acknowledge that immigrants are just like us, it becomes a lot harder to tolerate the inhumane way they are treated by the U.S. government.

Amnesty International USA’s Statement on the Santa Fe High School Shootings

Once again, we are devastated to hear of another school shooting. Our thoughts are with the victims and families of this attack. When teenagers cannot live their lives without fear of being shot to death, this constitutes a human rights crisis. Quite simply, kids should be able to feel safe at school.

“Policymakers must take action to make sure school shootings don’t happen before even more students are forced to run for their lives. We demand reform of federal, state and local laws to ensure everyone’s safety and security. We cannot wait any longer.

~Victoria Coy, end gun violence campaign manager at Amnesty International USA

It’s the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

Trans murders in BrazilMay 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.  Amnesty put out a list of LGBTI activists to look out for today.  One mentioned was Alessandra Ramos Makkeda of Brazil.

According to the above-linked article, Brazil has “the highest murder rate of trans people in the world [64 as of 5/1/2018].”¬† The NGO Transgrupo Marcela Prado (Transgroup Marcela Prado) reports these numbers. In 2017, a Huffington Post piece stated that these number are based upon media reports, so it is highly likely that the actual number of murders is higher.¬† Murder of LGBT persons is not a crime in Brazil.¬† Transgender Europe, another NGO, has much higher estimates of murder rates of transpeople.

In 2017, the murder of transwoman Dandara dos Santos was seen worldwide thanks to Youtube, and her five out of 8 of her murderers will be going to prison for it.

Ramos Makkeda works with Transrevolução, a trans rights group located in Rio de Janero on these and other issues.

If you’re interested in doing more work around Latin America, come to our next meeting.¬† If you are interested in learning about homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia here in the USA, check out our posts on transgender rights in MA¬†or the pending religious freedom legislation.

(TEL AVIV, Israel.) Bloody Monday: Israeli snipers kill scores of Palestinians and wound 2,400 and fire teargas at 35,000 protesters rallying against the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem overseen by Trump’s Middle East envoy Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka #AceNewsDesk reports (Reblog)

Here’s the most recent information from Amnesty International on the killings yesterday. (CW for disturbing images in the attached article)

Ace News Services

#AceNewsReport ‚Äď May.15: US President‚Äôs son-in-law and Middle East envoy Jared Kushner said opening showed US could be trusted and that when ‚ÄėTrump makes a promise, he keeps it‚Äô ‚Ķ‚ĶIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended the use of force on the Gaza border after Israeli snipers killed scores of Palestinians and wounded thousands more‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ.More than 35,000 protesters rallied against the US Embassy opening in Jerusalem on Monday as tear gas and sniper fire rained down‚Ķ‚Ķ..‚ÄôEvery country has the obligation to defend its borders,‚Äô Netanyahu said on Twitter‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ.‚ÄôThe Hamas terror organisation declares its intention to destroy Israel and send thousands to break through the border fence in order to achieve this aim. We will continue to act firmly in order to defend our sovereignty and our citizens.‚Äô ‚Ķ‚Ķ..It comes after a 14-year-old was among 55 shot dead along the Gaza border on what is already the deadliest single day‚Ķ

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Wrap up of our inaugural meeting 5/12/18

Thank you to those of you who came out in the rain to the Dedham Square CoffeeHouse  for our first meeting last night. (Special thanks to Michael of Group 151 in Boston for attending!)

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We have chosen to focus on Issues in Central and Latin America this year, so stay tuned!

Next meeting is June 11 at 6pm, location TBA!  Email Heather to get on the email list, Follow us onFacebook, or stay tuned here on the blog.

Acts of Racism and Hate in Norfolk County, MA

A blurry picture of a generic school hallway with lockersArticle 29 of the¬†UDHR states “We have duties to the community we live in that should allow us to develop as fully as possible. The law should guarantee human rights and should allow everyone to enjoy the same mutual respect.”. Article 30 states that “No government, group or individual should act in a way that would destroy the rights and freedoms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ”¬† As such, the ongoing racist, anti-semitic, and homophobia graffiti that is appearing throughout the county and elsewhere is a human rights violation. (Obvious content warning for all of the previous)

This very week, there was a swastika drawn in the Needham High School’s lobby.¬† A similar incident took place in November 2016 in Stoughton.¬† Swastikas were also found at two Franklin schools in 2017.¬† Yet more swastikas were found in Dedham Middle School in 2017.¬† Swastikas were also found in Wellesley High School in 2017 and in Westwood High School the same year.

2016 also found swastikas in Sharon’s Middle School.¬† The principal stated ‚ÄúIt could be treated as a hate crime…It would never be treated as ‚Äėjust kids.‚Äô We would work to determine intent and certainly provide consequences along with education about the severity of the issue. We take great pride in having a respectful, welcoming, diverse school.‚ÄĚ

In 2017, Bellingham’s South Elementary School was graffitied with several things including “one swastika. {Detective Stephen Daigle] said that despite the presence of that symbol, it did not appear the incident was racially motivated. ‘There was one swastika, but six different places (where the vandalism took place)…Most of it was smiley faces and ‚Äėslimes‚Äô was written a few times – stuff kids might paint.'”¬† Also in 2017, Pierce Middle School in Milton had swastikas drawn in the bathroom.

Not all hateful graffiti is anti-semitic:¬† in Medway, homophobic graffiti was found on the school’s sign in 2016.

In more direct action, Braintree High School students supporting Catholic Memorial students at a basketball game against Newton North taunted players with “You killed Jesus” in 2016.

In short, acts of hatred are omnipresent throughout Norfolk County.¬† If this is something you’d like our Amnesty Chapter to work on this year, come to our first meeting on Saturday and like our Facebook page.