19 November 2014

Minutes for the November 2014 meeting

Meeting minutes for Wednesday, 19 November 2014

In attendance: Barbara, Bob, Jeff, Kara (via Skype), Colin, Nancy, Alex, Michele, Gina, Marsha


Barbara reminded everyone about the group read-a-long and discussion of I Am Troy Davis, by Jen Marlow (2013, Haymarket Books). She has purchased several copies of the book for people who requested them at the October meeting. (Those who were not at the October meeting can obtain copies through Amazon, other booksellers, and possibly the library.) Unfortunately, the books did not arrive in time for this meeting, so she will distribute them at our Write for Rights event. We will discuss the book during the January 2015 meeting.

Actions and Updates 
  • Jeff: Letter on behalf of Mikhlif bin Daham al-Shammari, human rights defender in Saudi Arabia (UA 169/13)
  • Marsha: Letter on behalf of Jadia Nofal (director of the Center for Democracy and Civil Rights in Syria) and Omar al-Sha-ar (journalist and translator), Syria (UA 282/14)
  • Marsha: Letter on behalf of Ruslan Kutaev, civil society activist in the Chechen Republic (UA 66/14)

New Business

Human Rights Day: 10 December

Write for Rights event

  • Saturday, 13 December, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ten Thousand Villages in Exton
  • Barbara will bring cards, stamps, clipboards, pens, copies of group meeting info flyers, printouts of case files
  • Bob will prepare labels with pre-printed addresses
  • Jeff will prepare petitions on behalf of the highlighted cases
  • Marsha will bring an easel and will update the flyer with our regular meeting info (so we can distribute copies of it at the event)
  • Jeff asked about asking people to sign letters about other issues, but the group decided to keep the focus on the Write for Rights cases highlighted by Amnesty

Group movie outing

  • Michele proposed a group outing to see the new film Rosewater in a local theater. She will send out a survey to the group to find out what date works best for most people.

Marketing and publicity

  • Marsha talked about creating/maintaining a social media presence for our group on various Google sites (e.g., Gmail, Google+, YouTube).
  • Barbara brought up the question of whether our group needs our own Facebook page or if staying on the page for southeastern PA AI groups was sufficient.
  • Barbara will ask Kathleen Lucas who manages amnestyeastpa.org.
  • Marsha has listed our meetings and our Write for Rights event on the AIUSA website.
  • Colin proposed making a short introductory film about our group.
  • Barbara is going to compile a directory with contact information for our group's members. She asked everyone to send her their info (name, address, phone, e-mail, etc.) to her by e-mail.
Update (from Alex) on forced organ harvesting in China

  • A new book on the topic, The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem, by Ethan Gutmann, was published in August 2014. 
  • House Resolution 281, which calls for an end to China's forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, now has 237 cosponsors (more that half of the US House of Representatives) and is ready to be scheduled for a final vote. Please contact House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (202) 225-4000 to schedule the vote as soon as possible.
  • A new documentary on this topic, Davids and Goliath, is available for free viewing online until 27 November. It is about Nobel Peace Prize nominees David Matas and David Kilgour.
Upcoming Events

Write for Rights event on Saturday, 13 December, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ten Thousand Villages, Exton

Meeting on Wednesday, 17 December, 7:30 p.m., Wegman's cafe in Malvern

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