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Members Take Action

    September 05, 2014

    Joan Francis, one of Amnesty International's longest-serving volunteers, passed away on September 3 at the age of 97. Joan was well known for her support of Amnesty International (AI), and for encouraging others to sign AI letters and petitions. She also created Teddy Bears which were sold to raise money for Amnesty. She treasured a note she received from Hamid and Antonella Ghassemi-Shall, wishing her happy birthday and thanking her for her support when Hamid was being held as a prisoner in Iran.  "She was one-of-a-kind, an outspoken advocate for justice, and her voice and presence will be deeply missed.", said Father David Montgomery, St Augustine of Canterbury in Toronto, where Joan was a member.


    August 28, 2014

    Do you remember how you celebrated your 12th birthday? This summer, rather than just throw a party for her birthday, Canen decided to use her voice in a creative way to raise money and awareness for human rights. 

    “I started singing last year, and my teacher encouraged me to record an album. I wanted to use my singing to make people happy and make other kids who aren't free happy through my fundraising. I was really affected by the story of Malala and the film ‘Half the Sky’, and that is how I chose to raise funds for human rights at Amnesty International.”
    - Canen

    June 30, 2014

    Amnesty International joined 12,000 marchers in the World Pride parade in Toronto.

    Our biggest concerns were sunburn, dehydration, and blistered feet. Why did we march? Because we can.

    Because we couldn’t not so long ago in Canadian history.

    Because the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community in many countries continues to march in the face of discrimination, threats, and violence. 

    And because in many countries it is not possible to march or even be ‘out’ with your sexual orientation or gender identity.

    June 26, 2014

    by Elena Dumitru, Regional Activism Coordinator

    On Saturday June 14th Amnesty International Toronto Organization (AITO) had its Regional Meeting and the day was a special one in very many ways!

    The day featured a packed and varied agenda from workshops on a variety of Amnesty International (AI) topics and issues, and

    a powerful panel on torture with guest speakers Abdullah Almalki, Marina Nemat and Alex Neve the staging of the play “Last walk of Adolfo Ich” Alex Neve’s opening keynote speech on State of Human Rights in Canada "My doors are Open for Refugees” march, the closing of the day with dinner keynote speaker Melissa Fung who talked about the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan, and of course photo actions on Stop Torture and on Refugees

    The Regional Meeting was attended by 115 participants from the Greater Toronto Area and beyond, some of them long-term AI members, some new to AI while others were people who expressed interest in joining the organization and choose the Regional Meeting as their first introduction  into the world of Amnesty.

    April 29, 2014
    Canadians deliver 65,000 messages in support of Indigenous peoples in Colombia

    by Kathy Price, Campaigner for the Americas, Amnesty International Canada

    A message that can't be ignored

    Today we brought the faces and voices of concerned Canadians to Parliament Hill, along with an urgent message: Canada's free trade deal with Colombia creates special obligations to protect the rights and survival of threatened Indigenous peoples in the South American country.

    On the steps of Parliament, we displayed beautiful, heartfelt photo messages from activists across Canada. Then we went inside to present the government with a box jam-packed with petitions - thousands and thousands of them. In total, more than 65,000 people signed actions calling for immediate measures to protect the rights and survival of Indigenous peoples on their lands in Colombia.

    April 03, 2014
    By Gloria Nafziger, Refugee, Migrants and Country Campaigner

    “Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was in the bed to my right, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was in the bed to my left; Saeed Malekpour became my friend and Abdolfattah Soltani taught me about human rights.”

    With these words, human rights lawyer and former prisoner in Iran, Mohammad Olyaeifard brought to life four of the people whose pictures stood on the Amnesty International Haft Seen table.

    Nowruz is a celebration of the coming of the spring and beginning of the New Year, in the Persian calendar. At the heart of the celebration is the Haft Seen table with seven items which represent love, rebirth, affluence, medicine, beauty, sunrise and patience. The Amnesty International Haft Seen table includes seven prisoners in Iran who remind us that while this is a time of celebration there are many prisoners who remain in a dark winter.

    Over 80 people joined Amnesty International in Toronto at Beit Zatoun to stand in solidarity with these prisoners.

    March 03, 2014
    Family and friends of Loretta hold signs at Grand Parad ©Jeff Harper/Metro Halifax
    By, Kim Irving Cahill, Maritimes Regional Activism Coordinator

    Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Loretta Saunders, a young Inuk women who went missing in Halifax on February 13th and whose body was found in New Brunswick on February 26th. Loretta was from Labrador, attending Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and working on her honors thesis on the subject of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

    I had the privilege of meeting several of Loretta’s family members and friends. In the days following the tragic news of her death, her family gracefully reached out to the community in gratitude and to ensure that the issue close to Loretta’s heart isn’t forgotten.  Efforts have now turned to carrying on the light of Loretta’s legacy by raising awareness, working to prevent violence against Indigenous women and by drawing attention to the higher risks they face.

    February 20, 2014
    Amnesty members celebrate Have a Heart Day

    by Alanna Smith, member of AI Toronto and Action Network on Women's Human Rights

    On Wednesday February 12th the Amnesty's Action Network on Women’s Human Rights and fellow Amnesty supporters met at the AITO office in Toronto to create Valentine cards for Prime Minister Harper, in support of the Have a Heart Campaign by First Nations Child and Family Services. The campaign aims to raise awareness and promote change regarding the basic human rights of First Nations children and this is the third year in a row the event is being organized in the AI Toronto offices.

    A lot of colourful and creative cards were made by participants (for many of them this was their first AI event!) and here are some of the heartfelt messages:

    “Roses are red/ Dahlias are black/First Nations children/Need you to have their back!”
      “This Canadian heart has a safe home, a good education, is healthy, is proud of our culture. But not all Canadian hearts enjoy such services. Give First Nations children the same chance to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy and proud of their cultures.”
      “Dear PM Harper, Have a Heart! Don’t make First Nations children fight for services all other Canadians enjoy!”
    February 12, 2014
    By Duncan Garrow, Amnesty International Toronto (AITO) Board member, member of AI Toronto Speakers Bureau, member Church of the Redeemer Action Circle.

    By any account the evening had already been a great success. Upwards of 100 people braved the elements on a chilly Friday night to fill all of the available seats for Weaving Hope, a night in support of Indigenous people in Colombia. Many were attending their first Amnesty event, and enthusiastically joined in the many creative actions. Painted hand prints were made, photos of solidarity were taken, and petitions were signed. The audience listened attentively to the poetry of Ojibway writer Art Solomon and shared in the smudging and blessing ceremony conducted by Clayton Shirt. 


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