Editor’s Note: After just one year, the Amnesty International Club at Andover High School has become an active organization, holding several events to raise money for and bring awareness to human rights causes around the globe. Amrutha Palaniyappan, who will be a junior at Andover High School in the fall, submitted this recap of the club’s inaugural year and its hopes going forward.
Amnesty International is a non-governmental organization focused on human rights with over 3 million members and supporters around the world. This year, students at Andover High School started their own Amnesty International Club.
President Courtney Chan said her interest was sparked after seeing old Amnesty International Club pennants hanging overhead in the main foyer of AHS.
“I decided to change that by bringing back Amnesty International Club. Hearing about all the current events and global issues freshman year, I decided that I wanted to make a club dedicated to not just discussing issues, but acting upon them,” she said.
After that, starting the club was fairly easy and involved contacting Principal Dr. Christopher Lord, getting a teacher to serve as club adviser and filling out some registration forms with AIUSA.
The club’s format is simple, but fun. Meetings are held every Thursday and each meeting focuses on a different topic. Usually one of the members will volunteer to create a presentation for the following week. After the presentation, the human rights issue at hand is discussed, debated and, toward the end of the meeting, members come to a conclusion on how to take action. Sometimes, members go a step further and host a weekend movie night to watch a human rights movie, like “Taken” or “Bhopal— A Prayer for Rain.”
“The club’s mission is dedicated to advocating for human rights, spreading awareness and tackling global problems right in our own community,” Chan said. “We mobilize fundraisers and protest issues that we share a similar standpoint on as a club. The topics we debate range from torture, to poverty, to controversial topics such as issues surrounding Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. We collaborate with other clubs such as Red Cross, UNICEF and LINK.”