September 14 and September 28 events hosted by Holocaust Center for Humanity

Hey, everyone. I just wanted to spread the word regarding a couple of upcoming events being hosted by our friends at the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle. Here’s information from the center regarding each event:

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, we will be hosting a virtual talk at 12pm PT entitled, “More Than Any Child Should Know: Holocaust Center Graphic Novel launches new graphic novel“, which serves as the launch of our new graphic novel based upon the life of beloved Seattle Holocaust survivor, Steve Adler. Through this event, novel co-authors Paul Regelbrugge and Julia Thompson, both team members with the Education department at the Holocaust Center, artist Sean Dougherty, and special guest, Barbara West, Steve Adler’s daughter, will explore the process it took to bring Steve’s story from concept to reality.

Steve Adler personified the remarkable strength and resilience of so many of our local Holocaust survivors, dedicating much of his life to telling his story to inspire students to confront bigotry and indifference and take action. In 2021, we began developing this graphic novel based on Steve’s experience during the Kindertransport, which delivered thousands of Jewish children out of Nazi-controlled areas and into safety.

Additionally, on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, we will be hosting a virtual talk at 12pm PT entitled, “Ordinary Men Revisited Three Decades Later” with author Christopher Browning. Written almost 30 years ago, this talk will look at the origins and initial arguments of the book, the critiques it faced in the 1990s, and subsequent developments in Perpetrator Studies.

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Amnesty International Seattle Virtual Write for Rights event on September 25 (6pm-8pm PDT)

Amnesty International Seattle will be hosting its second quarterly virtual Write for Rights event on September 25th. It’ll start at 6pm Seattle time. Please join us as we write letters from home (or wherever you’re attending the event from) in support of human rights. To learn more about Write for Rights, please click here. To register to join us on September 25th, please click here.

There’ll be seven cases in total:

GUN VIOLENCE LEGISLATION
We’ll be writing letters to urge lawmakers to support the Break the Cycle of Violence Act (BCVA). The act allocates $150 million annually to community-based violence-intervention groups. Research has shown that this community-based approach is effective in reducing gun violence.

TOFFIQ AL-BIHANI
Toffiq has been a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay since February 7, 2003. He was never charged with a crime and was cleared for transfer in 2010. However, he’s still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

ROCKY MYERS
Rocky has been on death row in Alabama for almost 3 decades. He was sentenced by an all-White jury to life without parole for the murder of his neighbor; however, the trial judge overrode this decision and imposed the death sentence – a practice that is now illegal. There was no physical evidence tying Rocky to the murder; and his appeals lawyer quit the case without warning. Rocky also suffers from an intellectual disability.

HOSAM KHALAF AND OLA AL-QARADAWI
Hosam and Ola are a married couple who have been imprisoned in Egypt for more than four years on unfounded charges. Their imprisonment may be retaliation against Ola’s father, a well-known Egyptian sheikh now living in Qatar, who was once connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, but is no longer involved with that group. This case was included in our June 26 virtual Write for Rights event, as well. Photo from freeolaandhosam.org


AHMED KABIR KISHORE
CARTOONIST, BANGLADESH
Ahmed Kabir Kishore was arrested and detained, along with writer Mushtaq Ahmed, for posting satirical cartoons on Facebook, as well as comments about the Bangladeshi government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mushtaq Ahmed died in custody and Kishore was tortured and is still facing charges. Hundreds of people, including musicians, students, photojournalists, and others are facing charges for what they have posted online under the Digital Securities Act.


GOLROKH EBRAHIMI IRAEE
FICTION WRITER, IRAN

In 2015 Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee was sentenced to six years in prison for writing a fictional story about the practice of stoning. Her sentence was reduced and she was subsequently released, only to be convicted again in 2019 and sentenced to an additional three years, seven months.


URGENT ACTION: PROTECT AFGHANS STRANDED AT POLISH BORDER (POLAND: UA 95.21)
September 2, 2021
32 Afghans are stuck at the Polish-Belarus border following pushbacks by Polish authorities to Belarus in August. They have been stranded for weeks without adequate shelter, food, water, and medical care. Polish and Belarusian border guards have kept them in a strip of land at the border, limiting their access to lawyers, humanitarian aid, and healthcare workers. While the European Court of Human Rights has ordered Poland to provide the group with food, water, clothing and adequate medical care, Polish authorities have so far failed to comply with this request. Instead of denying asylum-seekers entry and pushing them back to Belarus, Poland must immediately admit them into its territory, allow them to seek protection and urgently provide them with adequate shelter, food, water, and medical assistance.


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Amnesty International Seattle Virtual Write for Rights event on June 26 (6pm-8pm PDT)

Amnesty International Seattle will be hosting a virtual Write for Rights event on June 26th. It’ll start at 6pm Seattle time. Please join us as we write letters from home (or wherever you’re attending the event from) in support of human rights. To learn more about Write for Rights, please click here. To register for our event, please click here.

There’ll be seven cases in total:

Senator Leila De Lima is a prisoner of conscience in the Philippines. She was imprisoned on suspect charges after criticizing extra-judicial killings that occurred as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs.


Ciham Ali Ahmed disappeared in Eritrea at age 15 after trying to cross into Sudan and has been detained for over 8 years.


Prageeth Eknaligoda is a Sri Lankan journalist who disappeared in 2010 just before the presidential election.

Maura fled to the US from Mexico to escape relentless transgender-based violence and abuse. She’s been detained by ICE for more than two years in the Otay Mesa Detention Center in California, where she faces abuse and inadequate medical care.

Hossam Khalaf and Ola al-Qaradawi are a married couple who have been imprisoned in Egypt for nearly four years on unfounded charges. Their imprisonment may be retaliation against Ola’s father, a well-known Egyptian sheikh now living in Qatar, who was once connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, but is no longer involved with that group.

Photo from freeolaandhosam.org

Exiled Belarusian journalist and government critic, Raman Pratasevich, was unlawfully arrested on May 23rd, 2021 by Belarusian authorities along with his partner Sofia Sapega, a Russian national. Their Athens-Vilnius flight was diverted and forced to land in Minsk under false pretext. Raman Pratasevich was wanted by Belarusian authorities on trumped-up “terrorism” charges solely for his journalistic work. If convicted, Raman Pratasevich is facing up to 20 years’ imprisonment. A televised “confession” may indicate torture and other ill-treatment.

Human rights activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer have been arbitrarily detained by Egyptian authorities for more than 20 months without trial over unfounded terrorism-related accusations. They are held in a maximum-security prison in inhumane conditions and subjected to discriminatory and punitive treatment.

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March 30 Virtual Talk by Holocaust Center for Humanity

Our friends at the Holocaust Center for Humanity are hosting a virtual talk with Dr Kierra Crago-Schneider of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on March 30th. The talk is entitled, “Liberated, But Not Free: Jewish Holocaust Survivors and American Forces in Postwar Germany”. If you’d like more information about this event, please feel free to contact the Holocaust Center for Humanity or Amnesty International Seattle.

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Jazz event to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27)

There’s a cool virtual jazz opera being put on by our friends at the Holocaust Center for Humanity here in Seattle on Wednesday January 27 at 6pm. It’s to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Here are the details:

Dear Erich: A Jazz Opera by Ted Rosenthal – Commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | 6:00pm (PT) | Zoom

Join the Holocaust Center for Humanity for a special one of a kind virtual performance on Wednesday, January 27th at 6:00 pm PT to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Ted Rosenthal, composer and jazz pianist, will perform excerpts from his jazz opera, Dear Erich, with two Seattle area opera singers.

The event is free to attend. You can also support the Center by becoming a Patron with a $180 donation. Your donation will support virtual programming for students, teachers, and the community in 2021. Patrons will be recognized on the event page and during the program.

Click here to register and learn more

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Virtual Write for Rights (WA) event on December 10 from 6pm to 8pm

Although I still plan to write letters later today, our virtual Write for Rights event is finished. Fortunately, it went well. The number of people who attended doesn’t matter as much as the fact that people took time out of their day to write letters for others. Nevertheless, our attendance was respectable. Out of over fifty people who registered, over twenty were in attendance at the peak of the event. I’d like to thank Amnesty International groups in Bellingham (Jan Dietzgen and Mary Jean Van Almen from Group 270), Kentridge High School (Tuong Vy Nguyen), Skyline High School (Nathan Beh) and St Louis (Bob Linsey from Group 105) for their help in making this event happen and publicizing it.

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Virtual Write for Rights (WA) event on December 10 from 6pm to 8pm

Write a letter. Change a life.

Our virtual Write for Rights event is today! The registration page is here. Happy International Human Rights Day! During the past several days, I’ve been focusing on each of the seven Write for Rights cases. Today, I’ll focus on Teyonna Lofton, a rising star who experienced gun violence here in the United States.

On May 31 of this year, Teyonna Lofton’s friends, teachers and family drove by her home to celebrate her upcoming graduation from Perspectives Leadership Academy, a high school in Chicago, Illinois. As the National Honor Society vice president of her school, she was excited about her future and looking forward to attending Louisiana State University in the fall. However, when she visited a local gas station to get something to drink, a vehicle pulled up to the socially-distanced line that had formed outside the station; and shots were fired from the vehicle at those waiting in line. A bullet struck a major artery in Teyonna Lofton’s left arm; and the injuries she sustained required a number of surgeries. She’s now in therapy, relearning the use of her hand; and her plans for college have been deferred. Join us later today to write letters urging for Teyonna Lofton’s compensation under Illinois state law and for the arrest of those responsible for this shooting.

To learn more about Teyonna Lofton’s case, please click here or here. Go here to take action online urging for the capture of those responsible for the shooting, as well as for compensation for Teyonna Lofton. To learn more about gun violence and Amnesty International’s fight against it, click here.

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Virtual Write for Rights (WA) event on December 10 from 6pm to 8pm

Write a letter. Change a life.

Our virtual Write for Rights event is only a day away. The registration page is here. As we near December 10, International Human Rights Day, I’m focusing on each of the seven Write for Rights cases. Today, I’ll focus on those being held in ICE detention facilities here in the United States.

Detention centers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are breeding grounds for COVID-19. In fact, an August 2020 report by Amnesty International noted that COVID-19 cases within detention facilities at the time had increased more than 200-fold to 5,300 cases. The report cites the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security itself (of which ICE is a part) as acknowledging that social distancing within detention centers is almost impossible for detainees and personnel. Despite attempts to correct the situation, a study published in October 2020 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimated that the proportion of people in ICE detention centers infected with COVID-19 was approximately 13 times the national average. With cases surging nationwide, conditions for detainees could get even worse. Aside from the danger posed by COVID-19, there have also been disturbing reports of women in detention centers having surgeries performed on them against their will that rendered them sterile. It is difficult to fully convey how horrific this is. This is obviously not who we, as a country of immigrants, are or strive to be. It is its opposite. Please join us on Human Rights Day, December 10, as we write letters urging the release of people currently held in ICE detention centers.

To learn more about the COVID-19 crisis in these facilities, click here. You can sign an online petition urging the release of those held in ICE detention facilities here.

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Virtual Write for Rights (WA) event on December 10 from 6pm to 8pm

Write a letter. Change a life.

Our virtual Write for Rights event is only two days away. The registration page is here. As we near December 10, International Human Rights Day, I’m focusing on each of the seven Write for Rights cases. Today, I’ll focus on Özgür Gür, Melike Balkan and 17 other human rights activists in Turkey known collectively as the METU Pride Defenders.

The METU Pride Defenders were arrested on May 10, 2019 for taking part in a march for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) rights at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. Although the march had taken place peacefully each year since 2011 and an administrative court in Ankara in February 2019 had lifted an emergency measure forbidding LGBTI+ events, the administration of METU banned the march. In light of the February court ruling, event organizers proceeded as planned. University administrators then contacted Ankara’s security forces to intervene. Many students and other activists were peacefully sitting on a lawn when tear-gas, pepper spray and plastic bullets were used on them to break up the event. 19 activists were subsequently arrested who now face up to three years in prison. In June 2020, another administrative court in Ankara affirmed the right to peacefully assemble and hold demonstrations. Despite this, Melike Balkan, Özgür Gür and 17 other human rights defenders still face prison sentences of up to three years for exercising these very rights. Join us this Human Rights Day, December 10, as we write letters urging their acquittal.

For more information about the events surrounding this march, please click here. You can sign an online petition urging the acquittal of the METU Pride Defenders here.

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Virtual Write for Rights (WA) event on December 10 from 6pm to 8pm

Write a letter. Change a life.

Our virtual Write for Rights event is just a couple of days away. The registration page is here. As we near December 10, International Human Rights Day, I’m focusing on each of the seven Write for Rights cases. Today, I’ll focus on Nassima al-Sada, a human rights defender in Saudi Arabia.

Nassima al-Sada has spent years defending human rights (and particularly women’s rights) as a columnist and human rights advocate in Saudi Arabia. She took part in efforts to combat violence against women, to end the male guardianship requirement and to grant women the right to drive. However, despite its avowed interest in promoting women’s rights, the Saudi government cracked down on women’s rights activists from 2018 to 2019, and detained Nassima al-Sada sometime in late July or early August 2018 because of her advocacy. She has been unjustly imprisoned ever since. This has included a year spent in solitary confinement. Conditions can be brutal for detained female activists. News outlets have reported cases of torture and at least one instance of sexual assault.

Ironically, a number of the injustices Nassima al-Sada fought against have since been at least partially addressed. Women now have the right to drive in Saudi Arabia; and there’s been a partial lifting of the male guardianship requirement for women over the age of 21. However, her continued imprisonment symbolizes the remaining divide between the Saudi government’s stated intentions for a more just society and its actual practices. Join us on December 10, Human Rights Day, as we write letters urging the Saudi government to follow through on its commitment to women’s rights by immediately and unconditionally releasing Nassima al-Sada and all other unjustly detained women human rights defenders.

More information regarding Nassima al-Sada’s case can be found here. You can take action online by demanding her release here.

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