The 2011 State Conference was held on Saturday, October 22. Much like conferences in years past, this year’s state meeting brought together high school chapters, local groups, and college students to discuss human rights in Connecticut and beyond.
Katy Naples-Mitchell and Helen Jack of Yale Amnesty introduced the day’s events and welcomed the attendees. Our keynote address was given by Trishul Siddharthan, who spoke about his experience as a student activist and his work as a Demand Dignity Strategic Planning Group Member. Robert (Bob) Nave, State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator and founder of the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty, followed the keynote address with an overview of the death penalty in the United States and the trend in the international community towards abolition.
We introduced a new activity this year–a Creative Action: making kite postcards to support women’s rights in Afghanistan. Check out the action description in the images below.
Following our creative action, Student Area Coordinator Ebony McClease, Helen Jack, and Bob Nave gave an overview of current campaigns and activism resources in Connecticut. Next Yale a cappella group Redhot & Blue performed. Following this musical interlude, Joshua Rubenstein, Amnesty USA Northeast Regional Director, gave a speech about the history of Amnesty International and the changing face of its rights focus.
The day concluded with three concurrent workshops: (1) Student Group Organizing and Creative Campaigning, led by Ewelina Rudnicka and Katie Hass, 2011 Yale Amnesty Co-Coordinators; (2) The Death Penalty in America and the Human Rights Movement, led by Katy Naples-Mitchell, Statewide Campus Coordinator for the Connecticut Network to Abolish the Death Penalty; and (3) Speaking Truth to Power: How to Lobby Your Elected Officials, led by Brian Harmon, Connecticut Amnesty’s Legislative Coordinator.