There is an increased engagement from students and human right activism that it has sparked interest in clubs and organizations that tackle these issues. One of the most prominent clubs is the Flagstaff Amnesty International Club. While the club meets on NAU's campus, it is open to all Flagstaff community members.
Flagstaff Amnesty International is one of the many ways NAU students and community members can come together to promote human rights involvement. The organization works to fight for those who are punished for speaking on their beliefs, as well as other human rights issues. Some of the main topics the organization is focused on include free speech, LGBTQ equality, reproductive rights and refugee aid, among many other efforts.
At Flagstaff Amnesty International’s final club meeting in December 2018, members participated in a Write for Rights event. Participants wrote letters to women who had been punished for advocating for human rights. Among these women is a disability rights activist who lost movement in legs after a car accident. Due to the incident, she deals with daily discrimination. Another activist was persecuted for peacefully protesting government neglect. These are the kinds of individuals the club fights to protect. Letters were mailed out with the goal of convincing government officials to bring justice to those who were wrongfully convicted.
Club president and senior Sedrick Cap helped put these events together. Cap aims to emphasize human rights advocacy through the club’s efforts.
“Our events are human rights focused,” Cap said. “Last year we held some events centered around ending gun violence.”
The devastating school shootings that occurred in 2018 were a huge focus for the Amnesty International Club. The club worked to get people involved in the fight against gun violence both on NAU's campus and within the Flagstaff community. While there was a significant response from NAU students, Amnesty International is hoping to get more Flagstaff residents involved with future events.
“As of now, all of our members are NAU students,” Cap said. “This is the Flagstaff chapter and the club is open to all community members, not just students. We want to get more community members involved.”
Junior public relations officer Francisco Santa Cruz explained the club has been working to establish itself within the community.
“We want to bring activists together,” Santa Cruz said. “We’ve been looking to work with local restaurants or other like-minded organizations within Flagstaff.”
The club is already working on planning future events and issues to focus on. These events will include information rallies to help educate potential members about the organization’s mission and focus. For example, the club acknowledges the refugee crisis that is prevalent in Arizona and are passionate about this issue because it is so close to home. Club treasurer and senior Stephanie Arana explained some potential future events.
“We want to really focus in on the refugee crisis,” Arana said. "This is a growing problem. The refugee crisis is not only a global issue but also something we deal with locally.”
One way the organization tackles the refugee crisis is through their I Welcome campaign. I Welcome unites those who welcome refugees into their communities. The campaign provides ways for participants to take action through petitions, donations, community involvement and much more. The main goal is to get nations and government officials around the world to understand the severity of the refugee crisis and the struggles people face on a daily basis.
Amnesty will continue with its mission of fighting for human rights and promoting activism within the community. One of the organization’s main goals will be to recruit new members. Santa Cruz explains why it is important to spread awareness.
“We want to create a community for those who are passionate about activism,” Santa Cruz said. “Human rights issues are important on college campuses a well as in the community.”
Flagstaff’s Amnesty International chapter is working towards promoting equality for those who must fight to protect their rights. Through more community involvement and outreach events, Amnesty International hopes to have an even greater impact. Those interested in learning more about the Amnesty International can visit their web page regarding club meetings this semester.