Yale Amnesty addressed human rights locally by focusing on abolishing the death penalty in Connecticut. On April 25, 2012, after years of advocacy and organizing by human rights activists, community members, students, and legislators, the death penalty was finally abolished in the state of Connecticut. At Yale, we were involved in this movement by organizing letter writing, petitions, canvassing, testimony contribution, and attending press conferences and events with the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Connecticut Joint Committee on Judiciary Public Hearings
2011In Spring 2011, members of Yale Amnesty International testified in front of the Connecticut Joint Committee on Judiciary in support of death penalty repeal. Check out the written testimony contributed by the Yale Chapter and Helen Jack, our coordinator emeritus. Our friends at the Shoreline Chapter and Trinity College Chapter also contributed to the March 7th dialogue. Joshua Rubenstein, AIUSA Northeast Regional Director, also made a statement.
Our Known History
It is known with some certainty that the current Amnesty group at Yale has existed continuously since 2002. Materials have been found which suggest the presence of an Amnesty group at Yale as far back as 1996. In 2005, Amnesty coordinators were Tiffany Wan and Svetlana Alkayeva, with contemporaries Jen James, Agata Kostecka, Katherine Jan, and Tinbet Tecle. In Spring 2006, coordinators were Tinbet Tecle and Edwin Everhart, with Katherine Jan and Nick Karzon. Weekly tabling was introduced in Spring 2006. In Spring 2005 and Spring 2006, the Amnesty club held “Rock for Rights” benefit concerts in Dwight Hall. In Fall 2006, membership and activity increased dramatically.
2007 coordinators were Nick Karzon and Katherine Jan, with notable contributions from Miguel Veloz, Carl Kubler, David Crockett, Sara Freiberg, and others. At this time we began to have some graduate student participation, notably with Stephen Baumgart. This period also saw the introduction of the tabling coordinator, which was a major step to increased division of labor and effectiveness.
2008 coordinators were Edwin Everhart and Miguel Veloz. Tabling co-coords were Stav Atir and Lily Yan. Bernie Kuan was treasurer. Carl Kubler was secretary. Bing Han was publicity coordinator. Other notable members included Samantha Broussard-Wilson, Pruittiporn Kerdchoochuen, David Colognori, Nora Jacobsen, and Sarika Arya. Graduate student and death penalty activist Ben Jones also participated. In Fall 2008, membership increased more than ever before. On Saturday, October 4, the Yale Amnesty group hosted the Connecticut State Meeting for the first time. The State Meeting had previously been hosted at Wesleyan. The 2008 Meeting had much more content and two to three times as much turnout as previous Meetings.
In 2009, Helen Jack and Stav Atir were elected coordinators for the Spring, and Nora Jacobsen and Stav Atir for the Fall. Helen Jack was designated primary organizer of the 2009 State Meeting. In 2010, Pruittiporn Kerdoochen and Helen Jack were elected Co-Coordinators. In 2011, Katie Haas, Katy Naples-Mitchell, and Ewelina Rudnicka were elected co-coordinators. Ewelina was set to take over for Katy when she returned from a semester abroad in Geneva, where she had been studying human rights. The spring of 2011 saw the first ever Yale Amnesty International Human Rights Film Festival, as well as a host of other events. The spring of 2011 also inducted Yale Amnesty into active campaigning against the death penalty in Connecticut.