Newsletter 2014-10-31: Pub Quiz Success, Human Trafficking and Updates

October 31, 2014 in main, newsletter by Rob Hallam


Boo!

November is nearly upon us- where did October go? It’s practically Christmas already…

This week’s newsletter is coming to you all slightly early as I and other dignified delegates are London-bound for the Amnesty International Student Conference 2014! We’ll come back informed, motivated and excited (even moreso) about all things Amnesty.

Let me start by thanking everyone who came along to the Pub Quiz- although one team scored the most points*, in my view you are all winners for having braved the howling wind and rain on Sunday to come and support one of our fundraising nights. Pat yourselves on the back. Of course I’d also like to thank Joe and Seb for doing an excellent job of hosting, all the people who wrote questions, ran last-minute printer dashes, brought decorations along, helped mark, took photos, and everything else which helped the night run smoothly. And another well done to Joe for coordinating it all! Early tallies look like we raised over £200, so it was a very successful night!

  • I was later informed that the winning team re-gifted their winnings! You guys are the coolest; and I’ll sign papers to that effect!

I’d also like to extend our gratitude to Dr Marco Goldoni for kindly coming along to give us that very informative talk. I found the issues and conundrums raised fascinating and useful for framing future discussion around the role of the law in relation to race and human rights.

Lastly for this intro, I’d like to say congratulations to Ruth over at the Coalition for a Conflict Free Glasgow University (GU CFCI) for putting on an excellent conference. The speakers were very informative, with a broad base of the subject being covered. It seemed to inspire the folks who were there on Wednesday, and roll on the next Senate meeting! We will continue to support the CFCI, but if anyone is interested in working on that directly, get in touch with the group via their Facebook page and Ruth will get you involved.

This Week: Human Trafficking

Tuesday 4th November, 5PM QMU Committee Room 1

Human trafficking

This week we’ll be looking at Human Trafficking, our next chosen campaign for the first semester. We are trying to confirm another guest speaker for Tuesday, and we may also have a film clip to show you.

It’ll be another exciting meeting for our second campaign of the year (as chosen by YOU)!

Jamnesty Tickets On Sale Now!

Wednesday 26th November, 7PM, Stereo, Renfield Lane

Jamnesty 2014 Banner

I’m delighted to announce that tickets for Jamnesty next month are now available online. It will be a fab night of music and DJing for £5 (£4 without afterparty) which is a damn good price per hour of entertainment.

With music to blow you away from Chrissy Barnacle, Hannah Jackson, The Van T’s, Harry & the Hendersons, and Sunshine Social; and featuring DJing ’til 3 from Flore De Hoog, Heavy Daze, and DJ Hushpuppy.

Join the Facebook event and invite your friends. It’s going to be a big one – get booking now!

Reminder: SPB Poster Competition

Friday 31st October

Just a reminder that this week is the deadline for submitting entries to the SPB poster competition. The details are in a previous newsletter which you can find on our website.

The deadline is 31st October 2014 and the grand prize is two tickets to this year’s SPB. Plus the whole bunch of kudos and exposure of having your design plastered around the West End and online. We’ve had a couple of entries already, so get cracking! (If you can’t quite make it for Friday, send them in over the weekend and we’ll still consider them).

Please send your entries to spb@guamnesty.org.uk; and good luck to all entrants!

Syrian Refugee Week Update

26th Jan – 1st February 2015

Just a quick update on a meeting that the coalition held for the Syrian Week that’s being held at the start of next year. We are in the process of firming up events; the hope is that in collaboration with the other societies involved to have one each day. It’s very exciting to have other societies onboard and keen to organise things too- the collaborative spirit! The events that have been suggested so far include:

  • An introductory lecture
  • A workshop on the asylum seeking process in the UK that Syrian refugees would face
  • Documentary screening and Q&A
  • Panel discussion
  • Fundraising ceilidh
  • Pub quiz!

There may be more events added to this list as more societies get involved. We heard that the SRC are happy to endorse this as an official week of events, which is great news!

Thanks to Oxfam, GRASS, Unicef, GU Catholics Society and CFCI for coming along and getting stuff planned; and to Alex for chairing the meeting!

Submission to Smith Commission

Friday 31st October 5PM 2014

Smith Commission

We’re doing a short-but-important submission for the Smith Commission, as I mentioned at the meeting this past Tuesday. While we want to stay away from any thorny political issues; but given the Rights Referendum campaign that went on during the indyref we felt this was a huge opportunity to reinforce the call for and importance of human rights as part of any settlement process.

Update: We have submitted our recommendations, which I attach a copy of here.

GUAmnesty-SubmissiontoSmithComission

We would encourage individual members to read others submissions and make their own voice heard, which can be done through the Commission’s website. Let us know if you submit anything!

Online Petition: Urge DoJ Action on Lethal Force

Apropos of the work we’ve been doing on Ferguson, including all the great letter-writing everyone did, we thought it would be worthwhile to do an online action to follow this up as well. From Amnesty USA:

The ongoing protests in Ferguson Missouri have ignited a national conversation about the persistent and widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by police across the United States, including unjustified stops and searches, ill treatment and excessive, and sometimes lethal, use of force.

The U.S. government must do more to ensure policing practices nationwide are brought into line with international human rights standards, including the use of lethal force, and to address systemic racial discrimination. The Department of Justice has failed to collect accurate, comprehensive national data on police use of force, including the numbers of people killed or injured through police shootings or other types of force.

Go ahead and sign the petition now.

Thanks to Sarah for pointing the petition out!

Reclaim the Night March

Thursday 27th November 2014, Starting at Botanic Gardens 6:15PM

Reclaim the Night 2013 (Crop)

This is a month away but it’s worth getting on everyone’s radar now, which is code for “I hope you enjoy being reminded about this for the next four newsletters”.

This year’s march will take place on Thursday 27th November (that’s the day after Jamnesty!) with assembly at 6:15 PM outside Botanic Gardens on Great Western Road (opposite Oran Mor).

I’ll give more details closer to the time, and we’ll be looking for folks to come along and carry banners or candles. It’s a fairly short march but it always has a good atmosphere, so whether you’ve been before or not come along!

You can see photos from last year’s march which we took part in after a Tuesday meeting.

More Photo Updates

In case you missed it, the pub quiz photos were published from last week.

Because of the talk by Dr Goldoni on Tuesday and the group work afterwards I only managed to take one photo on Tuesday!

The photos from the Conflict in the Congo conference hosted by GU CFCI will go up on their Facebook page soon, but in the meantime please enjoy one sample below!

Pub Quiz
Meeting 6
Conflict in the Congo Conference

Thanks for Reading

This week’s bonus comes to us courtesy of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies / University of Wisconsin-Madison, where one of the many visualisations they produce is a composite total-precipitable water graph:

Map of world showing total precipitable water

(click for bigger version)

Now ain’t that real purdy? You can see more on the MIMIC-TPW page.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Newsletter 2014-10-26: PUB QUIZ, Ferguson and Beyond, Jamnesty Tickets

October 26, 2014 in information, main, newsletter by Rob Hallam


Notwithstanding the egregious howler of a typo that started last week’s emailed newsletter, I bring you yet another missive full to overflowing with words for you to decipher.

Another round of thanks are in order this week. Firstly to Sarah and Alex for presenting on Tuesday. It was really handy to have an introduction to the history of race relations in the US as it set the context for what is happening in Ferguson (and elsewhere) succinctly. Well done to everyone who wrote a letter too- sending those off will surely have an impact; and the photos for #FergusonOctober show our solidarity. Have a look at Bex’s take on the Ferguson situation too, as it is definitely worth a read.

Thanks too to everyone who helped out with the bake sale on Friday- with all the informative events we put on it’s easy to overlook the fact that we need some money to operate; so well done to all involved.

This Week: Ferguson and Other Cases of Racial Discrimination

Tuesday 28th October 2014, 5PM, Committee Room 1 of the QMU

We are planning to build on the work we did on Ferguson last week, with a guest speaker* coming to talk about case studies on injustice and racial discrimination. After that we are going to have a group discussion about cases to come up with new some letter-writing templates, which we can add to our list of resources.

Given that we now know Ferguson is just one incident in a sea of many in the US and around the world which involves police brutality and racial discrimination, it’s important to shine a light on the others so that we can send a message that whoever it may happen it is not acceptable.

The session should be informative and also practical, as the group discussion should illuminate how the letters that we (and Amnesty at large) write are composed.

**subject to confirmation*

SUNDAY (TODAY): PUB QUIZ!

Sunday 26th October 2014, 8PM, Jim’s Bar (1st Floor of the QMU)

IMG_4480_v2

When: Sunday 26th October, 8PM
Where: Jim’s Bar, on the first floor of the QM Union
Entry: £3

Join the Facebook event and invite your friends!

Come to Jim’s and test your knowledge in our pub quiz. Show off your expertise in equestrian, your panache for performance art or just your magnificence at multiple choice.

Bring your reclusive genius mate to help you along, and your others as padding to laugh at when they miss a date by a couple odd centuries.

Prizes to be confirmed!

All proceeds from the night will go to Amnesty International UK.

£3 entry

It’ll be a great night!

Syrian Coalition / Week Update

Next meeting this Thursday 30th October 2014, 4PM Fraser Building

Syrian refugees

You may remember a previous update in a newsletter about the Coalition for Syrian Refugees. If not, then briefly it’s an inter-society coalition with aim of raising funds for and awareness of the plight of Syrian Refugees. GU Amnesty has been involved and none moreso than now. We’ve already had a meeting which included Oxfam, GRASS and UNICEF with the aim of organising and promoting a Syrian Week of events and information in January. The good news is that the SRC are considering officially endorsing the week!

There’s still lots to organise and although January seems miles off by now it’ll definitely come rushing up- particularly given there’s a whole bunch of exams in December! So if you’d like to get involved please feel free to come along to the meeting this Thursday at 4PM in the Fraser Building and contribute to the week!

Jamnesty Tickets On Sale This Week

With the groovy Jamnesty coming up in just under a month on Wednesday 26th November in Stereo, you might be wondering “where can I buy tickets for this awesome event?”. And the answer would be: right here! The ticketing system we used for the SPB is being redeployed to serve the needs of our gig night too. You’ll also be able to buy tickets from us in person, of course.

Watch this space! If you have any other questions, please email [jamnesty@guamnesty.org.uk](mailto:jamnesty@guamnesty.org.uk].

Reminder! Wednesday 29th October: Conference – ‘Conflict in the Congo: Responses from the International Community’

4-6PM, Senate Room, Main Building, University of Glasgow

In case anyone missed it (again!) last week, this is coming up this Wednesday. Ruth is looking for a few volunteers – more CV material! – so if you’re interested please email mail@conflictfreeglasgow.org.uk and let her know.

With several interesting speakers, this conference co-hosted by CFCI Glasgow, GHRN and Global Security Network is a great opportunity to find out in a bit more detail what has been going on in the Congo and what the response has been.

The event will be free and open to everyone, including all students and staff at the University, members of the Glasgow Human Rights Network and the Global Security Network, and anyone outwith the University who may be interested. The hope is that this event will provide an education to those who have little or no understanding of the on-going conflict in the DRC, as well as giving people from campaigning/academic backgrounds with a focus on the DRC or human rights and conflicts the opportunity to engage with a range of speakers who can discuss various aspects of international interventions.

As I said last week it looks really great and I know that Ruth has put a lot of work into organising the event, so I would strongly recommend gong if you’re free at 4 on Wednesday 29th! You can always check out the CFCI Facebook page for more info and updates.

Have a look at the Facebook event for the conference and come along!

Student Conference Travel Plans

In case anyone is coming along to the student conference that we don’t know about yet, please get in touch and let us know if you would like to organise group travel with us. No obligation, but it would be nice to travel a group and if nothing else it’s good to know who is going!

A Recap In Photos

Maybe you’re one of the many people who have joined us in the last few weeks, or recently subscribed to the newsletter. I bet you’d love a recap of some of the things we’ve done so far, right? Even if you’ve been with us for years and years, everyone loves photos. So, since I got caught up with the last few weeks of photos this weekend, I can show you what has been happening since term’s start.

In reverse chronological order, ish:
– A recent meeting we had on Ferguson, MO: Photos and our contribution to the #FergusonOctober photo petition
– A meeting to elect new committee members and death penalty demo preparation
– Our #DemocracyNowHK solidarity photos
– Choosing our campaigns for the semester
– Our welcome meeting – standing room only!
– A few photos from our stall at the Freshers Fair
– A campaign – the Conflict Free Campus Initiative – that we started on a couple of years ago now has its own coalition and motion before the court- we showed our continued support by taking photos during Freshers Fair and our welcome meeting!

It’s great to see so many people taking part and enjoying themselves in the photos- keep it up guys 🙂

Thanks for Reading

This week’s ‘thanks for reading’ reward is something a little closer to home, an animated GIF I made from everyone who took a photo for the #FergusonOctober solidarity action:

FergusonOctober - animated

You guys continue to rock.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Newsletter 2014-10-19: Ferguson, PUB QUIZ THIS SUNDAY and some Reminders

October 19, 2014 in information, main, newsletter by Rob Hallam

Hello again! With the passing of another week I would like to thank everyone who tended the shop while I was away in the south. You all kept things running smoothly! I’d also like to say thank you to everyone who came along to the screening of In Prison My Whole Life and to the debate with the Dialectics where we got some more photos for our #notodeathpenalty campaign. If you missed Bex’s writeup on the documentary it’s well worth a read, and it ties in nicely to what we’ll be doing in the week ahead.

All in all given how well the week went, I may have to go away more often…

This Week: Ferguson

Tuesday 14th October, 5PM, QMU Committee Room 1

Ferguson protest in the street

From the death penalty we move on to our first choice of campaign for this year: Ferguson. This is the first time that we’ve covered something of this nature happening in the US, so it’s new ground for novel campaigning ideas!

Announcing: GU Amnesty’s Pub Quiz!

Sunday 26th October 2014, Jim’s Bar, 8PM

Pub quiz 2013 team

So you think you know your stuff? It’s that time of year again: time for another GU Amnesty Pub Quiz! Join us on Sunday 26th October (this coming Sunday, a week today) in Jim’s bar for several rounds of delightful brain-teasing questions. Entrance is £3 (thinking of the Raise-off already!) and there will be some great prizes to be won. So get those thinking caps on!

Click ‘going’ on the Facebook event page, you know you want to! And invite your friends too- the more people that go the higher the pot!

You can also have a look at the photos from last year’s Pub Quiz which should show what a great time we had.

SPB Poster Competition

Accepting entries now!

Do you think you heave what it takes to win an award from an award-winning show? If you have some creative flair and a knack for digital artistry you mays be interested in participating in our very own poster competition!

The competition has run for the last couple of years and produced some great results:

2013 Poster2014 Poster

…And yours could take their place amongst them! The details we need are:

GU Amnesty International
Date :February 21st
Title :The Secret Policeman’s Ball
Hosted by Billy Kirkwood
The Venue : Qudos, Queen Margaret Union
Price: £6 for comedy only £8 with afterparty in Jim’s Bar (£7/9 O.T.D.)
Doors: at 7.30pm

If it’s a format that translates well between large poster (A3) and flyer (A5) sizes so much the better, even if the two versions are slightly different.

The deadline is 31st October 2014 and the grand prize is two tickets to this year’s SPB. Plus the whole bunch of kudos and exposure of having your design plastered around the West End and online.

Please send your entries to spb@guamnesty.org.uk; and good luck to all entrants!

More info can be found in the Facebook event.

AIUK Student Conference – Reminder and Motions

November 1-2 2014, London (deadline for motions is Monday 23rd October)

Student conference

I’ll be reminding you again about the student conference (see below) but first we had a message in from Rachel Statham, the Scottish STAN rep about making policy proposals at the student conference:

The Student Conference AGM is the opportunity for students to have their say, and resolutions can be passed on pretty much any aspect of Amnesty policy, provided that the action you call for is to ask the STAN Committee to do something. For example previous resolutions have asked that the STAN Committee not fly within the UK (exempting Northern Ireland) when travelling to meetings, and have asked us to raise particular issues with the AIUK Board.

This is a brilliant chance for every student activist to engage in the governance of Amnesty, as you can also ask us to help facilitate bringing a motion to National AGM, on a campaign you would like to see Amnesty UK doing. Last year this is exactly what happened when a motion brought forward requesting a focus on Human Rights Abuses in Guatemala, was passed at the AGM in Edinburgh. This motion, stemming from a proposal from a student group at the student AGM, and is now a formal AIUK Campaign.

The deadline for submitting resolutions is Midday on 23rd October, so it’s very soon. Please consider bringing forward a motion, and engaging with the AGM. Don’t hesitate to contact us, by email or facebook, for any advice or more information.

Governance and policy are really important areas to get right, and it’s vital we all are able to have a say in how Amnesty International (and STAN, in this case) conducts its business. Please get in touch very soon if you have something you would like raised or would like more info on the process.

Don’t forget to register on the student conference page! Although the registration fee costs £20, we can apply to the SRC for a reimbursement on that so keep those receipts! There are workshops, campaign actions, discussions, socialising and much more. Let’s not forget we have an award to pick up for last year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball! Please let me know if you are interested in coming and we can try to make travel plans for the group.

Jamnesty Update: Venue confirmed!

Wednesday 26th November 2014

Thanks to the efforts of Domi, Joe and Milia we have confirmed Stereo as a venue for Jamnesty on 26th November. This will be an excellent place to host the great music we’ll be hearing over the course of the night and is a significant expansion over our previous venue of The Halt.

It should be a great night! Keep your eyes peeled for further announcements closer to the time.

Sleep Out Reminder!

Friday 24th October 2014

Last reminder this week I promise!

The annual sleep-out returns! GU Amnesty has long been involved in these and they’re a really good way to raise both money and awareness. Basically the idea is to meet up with sleep gear (bags/mats/etc), hang out for a bit in the evening to chat and listen to the music and/or theatre sketch (latter TBC!).

Unfortunately it looks like it won’t be possible to use the Wellington Church as a venue this year, which is a shame as it was almost ideal! The venue is still TBC at time of writing.

Update: Kit has confirmed that the sleep out will be held in the cloisters as he was able to secure permission for it to be held there.

The SurveyMonkey poll for the charity to be fundraised for in the sleep-out is here.

Thanks for Reading

This week’s newsletter had a generous portion of reminders of upcoming events and things of note. But sometimes they’re necessary (I do try and keep the newsletter short and also mark reminders clearly!); and some don’t mind them:

A pair of seagulls from Port Issac

Including this couple from Port Issac.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Just don’t say ‘less reminders’, please!

Newsletter 2014-10-12: Election Results, Upcoming Events and CFCI Update!

October 12, 2014 in cfci, information, main, newsletter by Rob Hallam

Another week has flown in! Congratulations to our three new committee members:

  • Fundraising Officer Joe Clerke
  • Ordinary Board Sarah Bacom
  • Ordinary Board Seb Hammani

And my deep regrets to those who stood but were not elected- please don’t be too disheartened, we definitely still very much want and appreciate your input over the coming months! The main AGM will take place in the second semester for those interested in standing then. I hope you will be just as keen!

Thanks to everyone who helped making the banners for the death penalty demo on Friday; and my apologies for the confusion over the crafting session- due to issues with room bookings we decided to use the banners we already had plus the two that were made on Tuesday. A big well done especially to those who braved the intermittent showers to get all the #notodeathpenalty photos on Friday!

If all the death penalty campaigning has piqued your interest and you have ideas or want to get involved give us an email at campaigns@guamnesty.org.uk.

Tuesday 14th October: Film Screening of In Prison My Whole Life

5PM, Boyd Orr Building Room 222

In Prison My Whole Life

Please note the venue! We’re over in the Boyd Orr Building for the meeting this Tuesday. We’ll be watching the film In Prison My Whole Life, which we saw the trailer for last week. If you missed it, you can see it here:

(link for those reading in email: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7K3pdnsWmM)

The film deals with the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in July 1982 of killing a police officer. The title comes from the day in December 1981 of Abu-Jamal’s arrest- the day Will Francome (creator of the documentary) was born. We’re lucky to have Will Francome joining us via teleconference after the screening too. It should be a very good watch! More information and join the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/721239527960240/.

Wednesday 15th October: Death Penalty Debate with Dialectics

6PM, Boyd Orr Building

Rounding off our look at the death penalty (for the time being) will be this debate conducted by the Dialectics society. Join us for a discussion of how the death penalty is used internationally in what promises to be a very informative look at some of the issues surrounding extrajudicial killings, war crimes and mob justice.

Get more info and join the event on Facebook!

Reminder: AIUK Student Conference

November 1-2 2014, London

Student conference

Another quick reminder about the student conference coming up soon. We’ve got a few folks confirmed as going, so do get in touch if you want to come along! It’s a two-day dive into what Amnesty International is all about: campaigns, actions… and meeting and socialising with other groups!

Although the registration fee costs £20, we can apply to the SRC for a reimbursement on that so keep those receipts! There are workshops, campaign actions, discussions, socialising and much more. Let’s not forget we have an award to pick up for last year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball! Please let me know if you are interested in coming and we can try to make travel plans for the group.

Places go quickly so don’t delay! More information and booking link are available on the student conference page; if you are travelling down please let me know and we can book something all together!

GU GRASS Info

GRASS header

Since there was interest in GRASS last week after Kit filled us in on some upcoming events (Thanks Kit!) I thought it would be worthwhile to give a few more details for those that might be interested in what’s happening and the great work that they do.

So first of all, from their about page:

At Glasgow University, we use our position as a university society to help asylum seekers and refugees in the best ways we can. As Glasgow is a distribution centre for refugees, a strong network of support for arriving refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow is really important. GRASS began in 1999 and has been working to improve the lives of refugees ever since.

You can find them on Facebook and their website is pretty informative for things like past and current projects. Also on Facebook is the event page for their Pub Quiz which Kit also mentioned.

Sleep-Out: Friday 24th October 2014

The annual sleep-out returns! GU Amnesty has long been involved in these and they’re a really good way to raise both money and awareness. Basically the idea is to meet up with sleep gear (bags/mats/etc), hang out for a bit in the evening to chat and listen to the music and/or theatre sketch (latter TBC!). Unfortunately it looks like it won’t be possible to use the Wellington Church as a venue this year, which is a shame as it was almost ideal! Despite this it will be going ahead in a couple of weeks, so dig out the sleeping bag and get sponsored!

The SurveyMonkey poll for the charity to be fundraised for in the sleep-out is here.

Jamnesty Update

Domi and Milia have been working hard to get things sorted out for Jamnesty in November, which is already shaping up to be a fantastic night! We’ve a number of options for venues, and the line up of acts is looking good. If you want to get involved there’s still time, just email jamnesty@guamnesty.org.uk.

SPB Update

As mentioned last week the SPB organisation is truly getting underway. Billy is totally on board with the plans and also wants to make this year bigger and better than ever!

Duncan will be organising another meeting of the SPB subcommittee this week – likely to be Monday afternoon – for those coming on-board (such as those who signed up on Tuesday- thanks to you guys!), so keep an eye on Facebook for the details on that. If you want to be involved, either get in touch via FB or email spb@guamnesty.org.uk.

CFCI News!

CFCI banner

The Conflict-Free Campus Initiative has been a campaign GU Amnesty has been at the heart of for over two years. Briefly, it aims to change University purchasing policy to favour electronic items (PCs, laptops, tablets etc) which are produced in a ‘conflict free’ way. This means that, for example, the minerals such as gold, tin, tantalum and so forth are extracted and traded in a way that doesn’t result in millions of deaths. You can read more about the background of the CFCI, conflict minerals and what’s being asked asking for in our petition or the other information we have on it.

The CFCI is now an inter-society coalition, much like the fossil fuel divestment group was. And much like the fossil fuel divestment group had a very good result result in the uni senate recently so did the CFCI! The senate agreed to set up a working group (much like it did previously with the fossil fuels group) to examine the case for implementing the CFCI proposals. It’s a big step on the road, but there’s still a ways to go. On that note:

Wednesday 29th October: Conference

‘Conflict in the Congo: Responses from the International Community’

4-6PM, Senate Room, Main Building, University of Glasgow

With several interesting speakers, this conference co-hosted by CFCI Glasgow, GHRN and Global Security Network is a great opportunity to find out in a bit more detail what has been going on in the Congo and what the response has been.

The event will be free and open to everyone, including all students and staff at the University, members of the Glasgow Human Rights Network and the Global Security Network, and anyone outwith the University who may be interested. The hope is that this event will provide an education to those who have little or no understanding of the on-going conflict in the DRC, as well as giving people from campaigning/academic backgrounds with a focus on the DRC or human rights and conflicts the opportunity to engage with a range of speakers who can discuss various aspects of international interventions.

It looks really great and I know that Ruth has put a lot of work into organising the event, so I would strongly recommend gong if you’re free at 4 on Wednesday 29th! You can always check out the CFCI Facebook page for more info and updates.

Glasgow West Comedy Night

Wednesday 22nd October, 7:30 PM, The Stand Woodlands Road, £7

Our friends at the wonderful Glasgow West Amnesty group are putting on their annual comedy night, which is coming up on the 22nd of October. I’ve been to these before and it’s a great laugh!

More info is available on the event listing page, and you might want to check out Glasgow West’s page as well.

Closing

This week the newsletter comes to you from Sandridge Barton, near Stoke Gabriel in Devon. Reflecting those environs, I will leave you simply with a photo facing down to the River Dart. Enjoy.

View down to River Dart
(Click for bigger size)

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Newsletter 2014-10-04: Important Announcement, Death Penalty and Many Events

October 4, 2014 in main, news, newsletter, spb by Rob Hallam

Hello again to everyone. Thanks to everyone who took part in the #DemocracyNowHK photo action last week. Those photos had a huge reach on Facebook and are being Tweeted out- showing that we stand in solidarity with those protesting and risking so much in Hong Kong. We’ve some important announcements in this week’s newsletter, so be sure to read at least those. It also means this week’s instalment is another lengthy bulletin; please bear with me!

** Important Elections Announcement! **

Tuesday 7th October

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been reminding you of the elections for 2x Ordinary Board member committee positions happening this Tuesday. In addition, our lovely Fundraising Officer Nikola has taken the difficult decision to step down as a committee member.

This means that the position of Fundraising Officer will also be available for election this Tuesday (7th October).

Nikola has been an enthusiastic member for the last couple years and did a great turn last year as Publicity Officer; and we are very sad to see such a talented person leave the committee. But we’re still happy as she will be coming along to weekly meetings!

Nikola

If you are interested in the positions available (OBM or Fundraising Officer), it may be of interest to read the position descriptions written for the AGM last year. This might help you decide if the role is for you. If you have ideas (and some of the folk I’ve talked to who seemed keen do) you can certainly go beyond the job description!

All the best to Nikola and good luck to anyone standing on Tuesday.

First Semester Campaigns

In other exciting news, we all discussed, debated and ultimately chose the campaigns we will be prioritising in the first part of the year. Up to Christmas (82 days at time of writing- start buying those presents now!) we will be focusing on:

  • Unrest situation in Ferguson, MO (starting in 2 weeks!)
  • Human Trafficking
  • Food Banks
  • and, if we have time, Human Rights in Russia

The voting was very close! It was really positive to both have suggestions from the group (as opposed to from the committee) and that they were taken on board to such a great extent. Please don’t be too disappointed if your preferred campaign(s) didn’t get selected- there is always next semester! We are also hoping to get a letter-writing lunchtime session up and running, as well as expanding how we do online actions. You’ll never be stuck for campaigning with GU Amnesty!

Drinking Bird Loves Campaigns

And so am I.

As a side note, we have plans to work on both Syria and Women’s Rights in the second semester, due to collaborations with the Coalition for Syrian Refugees and International Women’s Week. Stay tuned!

This Week: Elections and Death Penalty

Tuesday 7th October, 5PM, QMU Committee Room 1

I’ve already covered elections in the special notice earlier in this newsletter; if you missed it please skip back a couple of paragraphs and read the info! We intend to kick things off with the elections first of all, as the prospect of speaking can make people somewhat nervous. Try not to stress too much about it though, we’re all friendly; and if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

12th Day Against the Death penalty

Thanks to the work of our Campaigns Officer Alex, we have a ready-to-go campaign for you all to get involved with before we start on our chosen campaign of Ferguson later on this month. Our first campaign is the worldwide abolition of the Death Penalty, a perennial favourite. We have a few events planned for this already!

Upcoming Events

Death Penalty-Related

Demo Against the Death Penalty

Friday 10th October, Library Hill

There will be a demo, probably on Library Hill on October 10th, International Day Against the Death Penalty. We have some decorations and such from our demo last year, but we’re always mad keen for banner-making!

Death Penalty Film Screening

Tuesday October 14th, 5PM, Venue TBA (Likely Boyd Orr Building)

We intend to screen a documentary or film as part of the death penalty campaign, which will happen a week on Tuesday. More details closer to the time.

Death Penalty Debate with Dialectics

Wednesday 15th October, Time/Venue TBA

This should be an interesting one. While the debate over the death penalty as an judicial option rages on, we and the Dialectics felt it had been overdone. So this debate will likely centre around extrajudicial uses of the death penalty- in times of war, in terms of mob/vigilante ‘justice’, and in the use of drones. These are all scenarios which have cropped up over again in recent times, and yet they don’t seem to provoke the same sort of response as killings carried out on the orders of judges.

Come along and join the debate.

Other Events

Academics at Risk Event (Reminder)

Monday 6th October, 3-6PM, Glasgow University Concert Hall

There is an event which may be of interest put on by GU Settlement to inform people about the work of CARA:

The University of Glasgow, with assistance from GU Settlement, is hosting a CARA (The Council for At-Risk Academics) awareness raising event.
The Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) has provided protection and support to refugee and ‘at risk’ academics for over 80 years. The defence of academic freedom continues to underpin CARA’s work assisting academics who, for reasons of persecution and conflict, are unable to continue their research in their countries of origin.
The event will be chaired by Prof John Briggs (Vice Principal and GU Refugee Champion) and Prof Alison Phipps (GU CARA Rep/ GRAMNet).
A representative from GU Archives will discuss the historical role that the University has played in supporting dispossessed and displaced people and there will also be the opportunity for round table and informal discussion.

UK Premiere: Beneath the Blindfold

Thursday 9th October, 6-8PM, GFT 12 Rose St

We’re lucky as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival to be able to attend the UK premiere of this documentary giving accounts of torture:

Screened in partnership with Document, the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, four torture survivors from around the globe courageously tell the stories of their mistreatment and their subsequent attempts to move beyond these horrifying experiences. The film follows them as they build new lives and, despite the continued psychological and physical fallout from their experience, become public advocates for an end to torture.

See the information page for more details.

Student Forum at Document 12

Friday 10th October, 12-3PM, CCA Glasgow on Sauchiehall Street

This may be of interest to some as part of the Document 12 film festival on in Glasgow from 9-12th October.

On Friday 10th October from 12-3pm we have a FREE Student Forum in the Club Room of the CCA (Sauchiehall St). Presented in conjunction with GRAMNet and the Glasgow Human Rights Network, the forum will screen two documentaries taking different perspectives on the contemporary experience of Palestinian children: Stone Cold Justice (Dir. Gabi Weber) looks at the contrasting legal rights enjoyed by young Israelis and Palestinians in the context of increasing arrests of Palestinian boys by the Israeli police force, while Since I Was Born (Dir. LAURA DELLE PIANE) tells the story of 11-year-old Tamer growing up in Dheisheh refugee camp, The West Bank. The screenings will be followed by a discussion led by Beth Pearson, Keith Hammond and Dr. Naomi Head all from Glasgow Uni.

See the facebook event for more details.

Amnesty UK Student Conference

London, 1-2 November

Student conferences are always a blast! In a little under a month the UK Student Conference will kick off at Amnesty UK’s HQ in London. It costs’s £20, and there are workshops, campaign actions, discussions, socialising and much more. Let’s not forget we have an award to pick up for last year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball! Please let me know if you are interested in coming and we can try to make travel plans for the group.

Places go quickly so don’t delay!

Amneslunchtime Amnesletters

Weekly

I mentioned this at the meeting last week but in case anyone missed it, we’re intending to start up a weekly lunchtime letter-writing session in the Fraser Building. It’ll give us a chance to go a bit further in taking action on campaigns and harnessing the keenness of the group.

Details will follow once we’ve decided on a day. The intention is to tweet / say on FB when we are there and roughly where we’re seated.

Watch this space!

Secret Policeman’s Ball Update

21st February 2015!

It may only be the start of October, but we already have a date for all your diaries:

Saturday 21st February 2015 will be night we have our Secret Policeman’s Ball!

If you haven’t heard of the SPB before, the short version is that it’s a night of comedy (modelled on the ones put on by Amnesty international) and our biggest fundraiser of the year. It’s hosted by the ever-funny Billy Kirkwood, and we’ve won multiple awards for them over the years.

SPB 2014 LaunchSPB 2014SPB 2014 Afterparty

More details will come over the next few weeks and months, but there’s plenty to be doing in the meantime- publicity, decoration, organisation. If there’s any aspect of this huge event you’d like to get involved with – looks great on the CV, by the way – please let Duncan or me know. Duncan is heading up the organisation of the SPB this year, for which we’re all very thankful!

Well Done For Reading Reward

This week’s ‘thanks for reading’ bounty is one for fans of Rube Goldberg machines (that’s a Heath Robinson machine if you’re on this side of the Atlantic). Some of you may have seen this before, but it’s so delightfully done I could watch it again and again.

(link for those reading in email format: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w)

See you all on Tuesday for the elections and Death Penalty!

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Newsletter 2014-09-28: Campaigns Decisions, IOC Success and More

September 28, 2014 in main, newsletter by Rob Hallam

Hello everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the first week of term and the Freshers’ Flu is beginning to wear off. There’s a lot of exciting things that have been happening, are happening and will be happening, so read on!

Welcome to All Our New Members

Meeting 1

I’d like to start by saying thanks to everyone for coming along last week. It was great to see such a big crowd! It’s even more exciting that so many of the people I spoke to had specific areas or ideas that they were interested in. But whether you have a burning passion for a particular area, a general desire to help out or even if you weren’t able to make the first meeting it’s great to have you on board and there will be plenty going on to capture your imagination. I hope you all enjoy the ride.

It sounds like there was some good discussion too; and I’d like to say thanks to everyone who took part in the CFCI action. We’ll be sending off the photos along with the signatures when the petition goes off to court for consideration next month.

If you weren’t able to make it, no worries- feel free to have a look at the presentation for last week’s meeting (warning: speakers notes in the PDF may bear no relation to what I actually said) and do join us at 5PM this Tuesday!

This Week’s Meeting: Campaign Decisions

Tuesday 30th September, QMU Committee Room 1

This week we are going to be deciding what campaigns we want to prioritise. I’ve said before that collective decisions are a really important part of the group, and campaigns are a good example of this.

Campaigns are central to our work, they form the core of what we do. It’s important that members feel invested in what we’re focusing on, and that they are subjects that people are interested in – although I’m sure everyone would be interested in any human rights campaign!

So we all get an equal vote in the campaigns. If there are issues that you feel passionately about – from chatting to folk last week it seemed like a few were – it would be great if you shared your thoughts with us on Tuesday when we talk about the different options in groups.

Elections for Ordinary Board

Tuesday 7th October, QMU Committee Room 1

Remember remember, the… seventh of October. A week on Tuesday we’ll be holding elections for the position of two ordinary board members. This is a committee role which will really let you get your hands on organising things behind the scenes at GU Amnesty.

All you need to do in advance is have a short speech in mind; anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute to tell us who you are, what you do and why you think you should get the position. We’re all friendly so don’t stress about speaking to us! Even if you are not elected onto the committee there may be other roles which would pique your interested, so don’t be disheartened- we’d still love to have your input 🙂

Campaign Success: LGBT Rights and the IOC

Olympic Rings

This week we got word that the IOC had updated its position on discrimination, which is excellent news! We’re proud to have played a part in this. From our hugely successful cross-union LGBT rights photo campaign to the pressure we also put on the Olympic sponsor Coca-cola in our poster which was part of our officially-supported and rather impressive Change.org petition, we stood up for these human rights.

It’s important to keep these victories in mind when choosing the campaigns this Tuesday and in the weeks beyond; we can make a difference. Never forget that 🙂

Raise Off Success

Last week I mentioned the Raise-Off, the UK student group competition to funraise and campaign for AIUK. Well, although Exeter won the prize for raising the most money overall – congratulations to them – once again our Secret Policeman’s Ball won the award for Best Fundraising Event! I’ve now lost count of the number of awards it’s won. It is a true reflection of the hard work and organisation put in by the SPB subcommittee, headed up by our VP Debbie White last year, the members and Billy Kirkwood. The night just wouldn’t happen otherwise- which would be a shame as it’s a damn fine event.

If you’re interested in getting involved this year, either contact us or mention it to me or Duncan or any of the rest of the committee at the meeting this week. We’ll get a group together and have a chat about what we’re going to do this year, and you can find out if it’s for you!

Congratulations to everyone who was involved in the SPB last year, you all deserve this award 🙂

Coalition for Syrian Refugees Update

Last week GU Amnesty and representatives from other groups (Oxfam, STAR (now GRASS), UNICEF) met to update and plan what we can do to raise funds for and awareness of the difficult situation that Syrian Refugees find themselves in. We have made tentative plans for a ‘Syrian Week’ of informational and fundraising events early in the second semester (January 26th – February 1st).

We plan to meet again, and so if you are interested in what is going on in Syria and/or would like to be involved please contact us and let us know so that we can get you up-to-speed and added to the Facebook group.

Because of the (understatement alert) complex nature of the situation in Syria, the coalition intends to remain apolitical; one of the main areas of focus for GU Amnesty last year was the human rights situation and this continues to be the case. If you have any questions or concerns relating to CSR, please do get in touch and we’ll try and clarify.

Other Events and Information

Academics at Risk

Monday 6th October, 3-6PM, Glasgow University Concert Hall

There is an event which may be of interest put on by GU Settlement to inform people about the work of CARA:

The University of Glasgow, with assistance from GU Settlement, is hosting a CARA (The Council for At-Risk Academics) awareness raising event.

The Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) has provided protection and support to refugee and ‘at risk’ academics for over 80 years. The defence of academic freedom continues to underpin CARA’s work assisting academics who, for reasons of persecution and conflict, are unable to continue their research in their countries of origin.

The event will be chaired by Prof John Briggs (Vice Principal and GU Refugee Champion) and Prof Alison Phipps (GU CARA Rep/ GRAMNet).

A representative from GU Archives will discuss the historical role that the University has played in supporting dispossessed and displaced people and there will also be the opportunity for round table and informal discussion.

Cinema ho! GU Amnesty Goes to see Pride

Not an event as such but given our group interests, some of us were thinking going along to see the Film Pride at Cineworld on Thursday evening. It comes highly-regarded, so it should be a good trip and a chance for another informal social. Grab a bag of popcorn and come along.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/566709056790636/

Pride cinema trip!

Get in Touch

Prince Rupert's Drops

This newsletter’s ‘I read all the way though’ reward is a cool thing that came up in conversation this week: a Prince Rupert’s Drop. This are drops of glass with a thick end and a thin end: hammer on the thick end and you won’t do a thing. Snap a tiny bit of the thin end off and the glass explodes. I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking:

(link for those reading in email form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe-f4gokRBs#t=122)

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Newsletter 2014-09-20: Welcome to GU Amnesty!

September 21, 2014 in cfci, information, main, meetings, newsletter by Rob Hallam

Wow, what a week! A most warm welcome to folks new to the newsletter and the group, and thanks to everyone who came by the Freshers’ stall and those who took part in the CFCI petition- it was very heartening to hear from so many keen people! Thanks to all the people who helped with the stall too, you rock.

On the Freshers’ Fair stall

So as a busy Freshers’ Week 2014 draws to a close, it’s time for me to make good on the promises made at the stall and to give details of the first meeting of 2014-15 and some information on what’s coming up in the next few weeks. I’ll try and keep this first newsletter of term short!

Tuesday 23 September: First Meeting (and Social) – Who are GU Amnesty?

5PM, QMU Committee Room 1 (3rd floor)

Our first meeting of the year! Come along at 5PM to the Queen Margaret Union on University Gardens (just at the bend), then take the lift or the stairs (both straight ahead of you as you come in the door) up to the third floor, turn left and enter the first room on the right and you’ll find us there. We are fairly laid back, so if you cannot make it for 5 or have to leave early that’s quite alright.

Just a heads up: we expect this meeting to be quite busy. Given the number of signups we had in the Fresher’s Fair we tried to book an extra room in the QM, but they were full. Please bear with us and if it is packed we do apologise; we will try to get another room for next week if this is the case.

We’ll be doing a proper introduction to GU Amnesty – who the committee are, what we do, and what’s coming up in the next few weeks. Because we’ll be chatting about who we are and what we do at the meeting I won’t go into much detail in this newsletter, so on Tuesday you don’t get a repeat of what I’ve said. If you can’t make the meeting, the presentation I’ll be showing will be uploaded so you can peruse it at your leisure. Since there will probably be some questions at the meeting I’ll try and address those on here too. In the meantime though, you can find a comment I wrote about what a ‘typical meeting’ is on the website if you want to get a heads-up.

If you aren’t sure of how to find where we’re meeting or have any other questions, please either email us or ask on Facebook or Twitter.

QMU Map

Welcome to GU Amnesty – First Social @ Old Schoolhouse!

Tuesday 23rd September, 6:30/7 PM, Old Schoolhouse, Woodlands Road

Following on from the first meeting will be our first social of the year. We’ll walk down after the meeting, but you are welcome to join us straight there if you can’t make the meeting. If you don’t know it, the Old Schoolhouse is on Woodlands Road just at the roundabout, across from the St Andrews building.

Come along for a bit and say hi! One of things our members talk about is how good it is to hang out with Amnesty folks, and this is a great opportunity to do it. It’s also good to know the folks who will be be turning up to meetings, demonstrations and events.

The Old Schoolhouse also does food if you’re feeling peckish by then!

OS Map

Upcoming Events and Information

Election of Ordinary Board Members

Tuesday 7th October

I’ll talk a bit more about this at the meeting, but we will be electing ordinary board members in a few weeks time on 7th October. Have a think about if you want to stand for a position (there are two OB positions available), as you’ll be expected to say briefly why people should vote for you. Don’t stress though, everyone is friendly!

It’s a position with a flexible role, meaning you can get out of it what you want from it; and it’s good way to be more closely involved in the minutia of actually running the society. If you’re considering it but not sure and it all seems a bit nebulous don’t worry, there are a couple of weeks in which to make up your mind and well get a previous ordinary board to explain what’s involved.

Activist Mixer (Tomorrow/Sunday)!

Sunday 21st September, 5PM onwards, Curler’s Rest Byres Road

Short notice and reminder! There is an activist mixer on Sunday 21st September in Curler’s Rest on Byres Road (by the subway). Invitations have gone out to a number of activist groups on campus, so there will be a mix of different groups doing good work. It’s a great opportunity to find out about what other societies are doing, and to network; we as a group tend to work with a number of familiar faces so it’s useful to meet these good folks. Come along for a bit if you’re passing and say hi.

Next Week (Tuesday 30th September)

After the introductions this week we’ll be looking at campaigns on 30th. This will involve chatting about campaign suggestions and voting on what ones we want to prioritise. More details in next week’s newsletter!

For those of you who made it this far, reward yourself by watching a video of some goats balancing on a wobbling sheet of metal:


(link for those reading this in email form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58-atNakMWw)

Goats are awesome.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Newsletter 2014-09-14: Freshers’ Week, First Meeting and Beyond!

September 14, 2014 in events, information, main, meetings, news, newsletter by Rob Hallam

We’re back! September has arrived and the new term is nearly upon us. This is a busy time for everyone and a really important time for us with new members and a whole bunch of events to kick off the new academic year.

Freshers’ Week

15-21 September 2014

Freshers’ week is one of the most important parts of the year for us- chances are high if you’re reading this that you’ve at least wandered by our stall during Freshers Week one September! If you’ve an hour to spare (or more), please come along– it’s a great way to meet the new faces who’ll be coming along this year and would really help us out. Get in touch with us either via email, Facebook or Twitter; or if you prefer you can fill in the Doodle: http://doodle.com/65zgchrx98mvgwun#table. Let us know, we’ll really appreciate it. If you don’t, well:

Stern Bird is judging you

But if you are able to lend a hand, then:

Happy Bird sez well done you

Avian persuasions aside1, if you can come along that would be great and we’d love to see you there.

The Freshers’ Fair Stall

16-17 September, 10-4, Randolph Hall

We have booked a stall which will be in Randolph Hall on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th September from 10 AM to 4PM. Wearing our best smiles we’ll be chatting to Freshers about what we do, our meetings and events, and generally looking like the society that everybody wants to join.

Collaboration with STAR & CB – ‘Journey to Safety’

Wednesday 17th September, 3-6 PM, Body Orr Building Room 213

One of the other things we’ll be helping with is a very exciting workshop on the asylum seeker process organised by STAR over the course of a few hours on Wednesday afternoon 3-6 in the Boyd Orr Building (room 213). It’s a really good way to get a quick feel for the process; it’s be done in previous years and extremely well-received. STAR Glasgow and Crossing Borders will be taking people through the stages.

If you’d like to come along and take part I’m certain you’d find it a useful and positive experience. Or if you’d like to help out we could use folks to take people from one station to another (no prep work needed- script you can read from provided!) that would be really helpful. Let us know as mentioned above.

Activist Mixer/Social

Sunday 21st September, Curler’s Rest, 5 PM onwards

Thanks again to Kit of STAR, there is an activist mixer on Sunday 21st September in Curler’s Rest on Byres Road (by the subway). Invitations have gone out to a number of activist groups on campus, so there will be a mix of different groups doing good work. It’s a great opportunity to find out about what other societies are doing, and to network; we as a group tend to work with a number of familiar faces so it’s useful to meet these good folks. Come along for a bit if you’re passing and say hi.

(Provisional) Activism Talk

Thursday 18th September, Afternoon

Although this is provisional, we are hoping to do a talk on activism on the afternoon of 18th of September. We’re discussing with the SRC what we can do, it would be good to see some familiar faces in the crowd if it does go ahead. Keep an eye on the website, Facebook or Twitter for updates on time and venue.

First Meeting of 2014-15!

Tuesday 23rd September, 5PM, QMU

Fun! Excitement! Presentations!

We’ll be kicking off the academic year with our first meeting on Tuesday 23rd September in the QMU at 5PM. We’ll be giving an overview of what we do for new members, introducing the committee and giving information about upcoming campaigns, events- which includes the election of two ordinary board members. This is a committee position which gives even greater opportunity to be involved in the planning and direction of GU Amnesty.

First Social of 2014-15

Tuesday 23rd September, 7PM onwards, The Old Schoolhouse, Woodlands Avenue

Following on from our first meeting we will be having our first social. This will be held at The Old Schoolhouse in Woodlands Road after the first meeting (roughly 7PM). If you don’t know where it is, don’t worry, it’s close by and we’ll walk you there. It’s a really good way to get to know folks – invariably the members of GU Amnesty are great folk to hang out with as well as outstanding campaigners!

Other Upcoming Events and Info

We already have a number of exciting things planned for Freshers’ Week and our first campaign, but there are plenty of other things going on which you might be interested in.

GHRN Events and Bulletin Information

If you haven’t heard of it, you should check out the Glasgow Human Rights Network.

The Glasgow Human Rights Network aims to bring together researchers, practitioners,
members of civil society organisations and policymakers who address human rights issues.

Their events can be very informative for those looking to go a bit deeper into human rights issues, especially those that see themselves either working, pursuing further education or researching in the field.

The latest bulletin had too many events to list here, but if you are interested you can find details on how to subscribe to their website, linked above. If there’s any difficulties finding the details, please get in touch with us and we’ll help you out.

I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club

21st September-10th October 2014

On September 21, 2011, the State of Georgia put Troy Davis to death despite a compelling case of innocence. To mark the 3-year anniversary of this travest9thy of justice, and to deepen and widen the discourse about the human impact of the death penalty and criminal justice system, we invite you to participate in a worldwide Community Book Club between September 21 and October 10, World Day Against the Death Penalty. Through hundreds of intimate gatherings across the country and the world, Troy’s story will reach and impact thousands of new people.

The case of Troy Davis is one we’ve campaigned on in the past, and it continues to be a focal point in the case for the abolition of the death penalty. If you’re interested, please take the time to have a look at I Am Tro Davis and the Community Bookclub. The death penalty is a campaign we will return to in October. If you’re interested in more information or the book please contact our campaigns manager Alex or the good folks at I Am Troy Davis above.

Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival

1-19 October 2014

There’s a film being screened on 9th October, the UK premiere of Beneath the Blindfold telling the stories of four torture survivors. As a heads-up, we have a death penalty-related event putatively pencilled in for the same day, but details will follow and it may be of interest.

Get in Touch

There’s lots on in the coming week or two, and even more beyond but this newsletter has to end somewhere! There will be more coming next week, and every week after that. Well done for making it to the end this time. Your picture rewards are the two birds included above.

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. Photos taken in my back garden this week. 

Newsletter 2014-07-12: Pride Glasgow! Volunteer Opportunities and Coming Up

July 12, 2014 in events, information, main, newsletter by Rob Hallam

Hello and welcome to another summertime newsletter. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Lots to get through this week again!

First and foremost, next week is Glasgow Pride! Once again GU Amnesty intend to go along and join in the march and we may have a small social gathering thereafter. Hope to see everyone, including our friends from Glasgow West and possibly even Ayr there! There are a number of interesting things coming up as well as a whole host of pretty dandy volunteer opportunities. Interested? I am, so read on!

Saturday 19th July: Pride Glasgow!

It’s that time of year again. Get out your best marching boots and come along and join us for a day of celebration of identity. If you haven’t been before I would strongly urge you to come along. All are welcome, the atmosphere is very friendly. I wasn’t able to make the event last year, but I went to the one before that and it was definitely a highlight of my summer.

We’re going to march in the parade. This year it starts from Clyde Place (see map), and initially over the George V bridge. The assembly time is 9:30 AM, and the destination is the King Street Car Park at 11:30.

Start:

Our plan is to meet up outside Bridge Street Subway at 9:15.

Please get in touch via FB, Twitter or the website if you’re running late! Some folks have expressed an interest in joining us afterwards; thats fab too- we’ll probably head to a park or cafe or similar depending on the weather once the march has wound up. You can either meet us at King St Car Park, where we’l be until 12 at least, or get in touch as above and meet us at the social.

Photos from two years back.
One of the photos from Pride 2012

For those who can’t join us on the day, you could tweet your support (@guamnesty using the hashtag #glasgowpride. Include us in the tweets so we can retweet you!

Amnesty UK Volunteering Opportunities

With the Commonwealth Games nearly upon us and the Edinburgh Festival following hot on its heels, there are volunteering opportunities for both! If you fancy helping out, have a look and see if any of the following interest you:

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/amnesty-commonwealth-ambassadors

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/amnesty-edinburgh-festival-ambassadors

Please note that the closing date for the Commonwealth Ambassadors and Edinburgh Festival Ambassadors is this Monday (14th July), so get your skates on if you want to take part!

If you’re in Edinburgh and don’t mind the commute, there are opportunities to help out at the Scotland Office:

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/administrator-volunteer

These close next Monday (21st July).

Volunteering Opportunity with Philanthrobeats

From our friends over at the ever-groovy Philanthrobeats, Sarah Crowe got in touch to let us know about a really positive volunteering opportunity:

Philanthrobeats are offering one-to-one music classes for asylum seeker/refugee children
and we are looking for volunteers! Philanthrobeats are launching
one-to-one music classes with asylum seeker and refugee children. If any skilled
musicians out there want to get involved, take a look at the info on our website where you
can also find the volunteer application form.

http://philanthrobeats.org.uk/music-classes/

It’s worth keeping an eye on PB’s website (http://philanthrobeats.org.uk/) for their upcoming events.

AIUK Student Survey

A quick word from Rachel Statham from the STAN committee:

Hello Scottish Activists,

Please take a few minutes to fill out our AIUK student survey and give a little feedback
on what your Student Action Network Committee can do to help improve the student
activist experience –
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Jc2KR6Cc%2bzHN9keazRXvUg%3d%3d
It’s quick and straight forward, and will guide new student materials for the coming year.

Most importantly, a huge thank you on behalf of the student network for all your inspiring
activism over the past year – have a wonderful summer and I look forward to hearing of
your plans in the autumn!

I’ve done the survey and it really is ‘quick and straightforward’; it took me only a minute or two. Feedback is really important in general – we’ll be looking for your feedback throughout the year so be ready for that! – and it’s worth your time to make sure your experiences are represented.

GHRN Events

You may have seen us promoting GHRN events in the past. They are the Glasgow Human Rights Network. Their website speaks for itself, but I’ll briefly quote the introduction:

The Glasgow Human Rights Network aims to bring together researchers, practitioners,
members of civil society organisations and policymakers who address human rights issues.

They put on rather quite interesting events and conferences which are worth attending if you realy want to get into the nitty-gritty of human rights issues in depth.

This week there is a one-day conference on LGBTI rights in the Commonwealth:

18th July 9.00am – 5.00pm
Sir Charles Wilson Building, University of Glasgow
E15 on campus map

‘LGBTI Human Rights in the Commonwealth People of the Commonwealth’ is a free
one day conference. The event is being held in Glasgow on Friday 18th July, five days
before the opening of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

For full details and to register, please visit the Conference website.

The website is hosted over on the Equality Network

It looks to be a very interesting conference, and definitely worth a look; particularly given the focus we gave to LGBT issues last year.

Freshers Week 2014

It’s still a little over two months away, but we’ll be having a stall as usual during Freshers Week 2014. Not only that, but we’re planning on at least one event in collaboration with our good friends in STAR which I am really excited about. Details will come a bit closer to the time, but it promises to be really informative.

The reason I’m giving this advance heads-up as we’ll be looking for helpers- it reflects positively on the society if we’re got a well-run stall. The huge attendence after Fresher’s Week last year proves that if nothing else!

Letter Writing: A Reply

Towards the end of last term we did some letter writing under the banner of ‘Scotland Stands for Human Rights’. And we got a reply!

Reply from Blair Jenkins of Yes Scotland

It’s great to get a reply and when we do we want to make sure everyone is aware that we do- letter writing is one of the vital things we do as a group, and that Amnesty International does in general, so when we get feedback on it we’re sure to make the most of it.

There will be plenty more letter-writing opportunities in the year to come!

End of Newsletter

Well done for making to the end of the newsletter. If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

This week’s ‘thanks for reading’ reward is a picture of a cute bird I snapped having a drink in my back garden.

Bird is the word

I figured having featured VladPut last time y’all deserved something a bit, well… nicer.

Hope to see you next week at Pride!
Rob

Newsletter 2014-06-18: Amnestea Mark 2, Stop Torture Launch, Other Upcoming Events and Things of Interest

June 18, 2014 in events, information, main, news, newsletter, spb by Rob Hallam

Hello all! I hope everyone that’s still here has been enjoying the frankly stunning weather we’ve been having in Glasgow, and for those who have gone home already I hope the weather’s good there too. Despite us being out-of-term there’s quite a bit on! Briefly: we’re having a small social gathering in Kelvingrove park on Friday 20th, there’s the “Feast of Stories” as part of Scottish Refugee Week on Saturday 21st; Stop Torture Campaign launch on Wednesday 25th with Amnesty Scotland; a ‘Scotland as a Good Glocal Citizen’ Amnesty Scotland event on Monday 30th; and some other upcoming things and opportunities for everyone- whether in
Glasgow or not!

It’s a long one even from looking at that paragraph, so if you get to the end of the newsletter there will be a surprise! Ooh, the suspense.

This Friday 20th June Afternoon: Social in Kelvingrove Park / AKA ‘Amnestea Mark II’

We had a great time at the last Amnestea back at the start of the month. Thanks to Ruth for hosting us when the weather just didn’t want to cooperate. So in the spirit of getting the sunshine that we missed out on last time, we figured we’d have a relaxed social gathering in Kelvingrove Park this Friday afternoon. We’ll aim to kick off after lunch (maybe 1 or 2 PM) which we will announce on FB and Twitter, but please feel free to turn up whenever suits- we have at least one or two joining us onice they escape from work! Also, don’t feel you have to bring or bake anything – we had our fill of confection last time around!

A table *full* of cakes biscuits sweets and tea!

And if you aren’t in Glasgow but feel like joining in the spirit of things, please take a selfie of yourself with some tea or a picnic or of a teapot and send it to us or tweet it to us or get it to us somehow! Might sound a bit silly on the face of it but we’d like to build a library of “people being involved with GU Amnesty” even when not in Glasgow.

Wednesday 25th June 1800: Stop Torture Campaign Launch – John McIntyre Building Room 201

Exciting times next week – we’re playing host to Amnesty Scotland’s launch of the Stop Torture campaign. With canapes and Alistair Carmichael, Secretart of State for Scotland, as a confirmed speaker it promises to be an interesting launch for a campaign that is right at the heart of Amnesty International’s work. If you’re in Glasgow or within travelling distance please come along. You can find the event page on Facebook as ever.

Please note that this is in Room 201 (downstairs) in the John McIntyre building rather than the more usual venue of the Williams Room.

Also on Wednesday 25th June: CFCI Goes to Court

As <a href=”http://www.guamnesty.org.uk/2014/06/june-2014-amnestea-in-the-park-stop-torture-campaign-launch-refugee-week-and-more/>Ruth mentioned in the last newsletter, our CFCI petition is finally making its way to the university court. After the SRC passed a motion of support we hope that Jess McGrellis can convince the court of the miportance of the motion and the need for change. Fingers crossed.

Coming Up on 19th July: Glasgow Pride!

<a href=”https://www.guamnesty.org.uk/2012/07/pride/>GU Amnesty are no strangers to Pride. We will be marching again this year, and our friends over at the Glasgow West Amnesty group will hopefully be joining us 🙂 We will post up more details about where and when to meet closer to the time. Please note that tickets for the main event (not the parade!) are £5 this year, which the Pride Glasgow website notes is due to decreased grant funding this year. It’s a shame, but if they don’t have the same level of funding I think a fiver to cover such a massive event is very reasonable. One day our SPB will be just as big– more on that later…

Other Events

Saturday 21st June: Feast of Stories

This event is going on as part of Scottish Refugee Week and sounds fab. I’ll let the description speak for itself:

Tales of Migration and Welcome

Come and celebrate the rituals of sharing food and storytelling with people and organisations in Glasgow who welcome refugees and asylum seekers! I would really appreciate if you can share this on your fb page as well.

There will be tales about migration and welcome from seasoned storytellers, alongside a delicious, local and organic meal cooked by volunteers on the day. There will be space to share your own story, as well as music, poetry and maybe even dancing. Proceeds will go to a local charity.

Saturday 21st June, 7pm-11pm
Kinning Park Complex 43 Cornwall Street Glasgow, G41 1BA

Price on a sliding scale from FREE – £15. Booking essential!

For more information about how to get involved and how to book a place, please visit: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/feast-of-stories-scottish-refugee-week-2014-tickets-10965912339 or contact bridgetholtom@hotmail.co.uk

Monday 23rd June: Free Online Course – Right Versus Might in International Relations

Looks very interesting, we had a chat about this at Amnestea and folks were very keen on it. More info: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/right-vs-might. Check it out!

(Change of Date) Monday 30th June 1830: Business and Human Rights: Scotland as a Good Global Citizen

Another event by Amnesty Scotland, this is on at The Lighthouse in town and also looks really interesting. Please note it was moved from 23rd June to 30th due to unforseen circumstances. More details on the event page:

Modern day slavery, forced labour, human trafficking, the illegal arms trade- these are all human rights abuses resulting from unscrutinised and irresponsible business practices. This is an opportunity to hear from both sides of the Scottish Independence Referendum debate as to how they will ensure that Scotland stands for human rights.

Guest Speakers:

  • Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs and International Relations
  • Robert Brown, Liberal Democrat Councillor for the Rutherglen South Ward of South Lanarkshire Council
  • Chaired by Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Programme Director – Economic Affairs

Tickets are free but you need to book via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/business-and-human-rights-scotland-as-a-good-global-citizen-tickets-11929323929

Opportunities

Those of you who were around at the AGM a couple months back and heard the speeches will know that we’ve some big plans for next year. For those of you who weren’t at the AGM… we have some big plans for next year! I’d like to talk about those a bit over the summer as we hash out the ideas and figure out what’s going to work. As ever, if you’ve an idea please contact us and let us know 🙂 In the meantime, here’s a couple of things to consider getting involved in:

SPB Subcommittee

Last year our lovely former VP and SPB Convenor Debbie White took charge of the running of our Secret Policeman’s Ball, which is a major night of comedy modelled on the one also held by Amnesty UK. She did a fantastic job but I’m sure she’d be the first to point out the contribution of the SPB Subcommittee. It’s much more than just being a pair of helping hands, it’s an opportunity to shape a really big event. One of the things Debbie pointed out is it’s a great thing to see your ideas realised and to take ownership of the event. Plus it’s a great thing in terms of experience to talk about in interviews, cover letters, personal statements and the like.

GU Amnezine

For those who aren’t familiar with our incessant puns, we’re also planning on doing an Amnesty Magazine this summer in time for Freshers’ Week. We’d like some quotes from members to give people a taste of what it’s like, for example:

  • meetings
  • memorable campaign actions
  • favourite events
  • one important thing you learned

If you’ve 30 seconds to dash off a sentence or two on one or more of those headings, or anything else, that would be great! And because it’s so easy to forget I will probably mention these topics again over the course of the summer.

Naturally, if you’d like to be involved with either, please let us know!

The Surprise

Well done for making this far! Or for skipping ahead to the end to see the reward. Either way, you deserve some pictorial fun. I already mentioned <a href=”https://www.guamnesty.org.uk/2014/06/photos-from-amnestea-2014/>Amnestea and the photos from there, but there are now finally photos up from the ceilidh the other week, including this gem of someone really enjoying themself:

A jump and heel click

But since you all are avid readers of the website you’ve probably seen the ceilidh photos already. So here’s something different, our dear friend VP:

putin_rights

Yeah. Thanks for reading folks!