Written by longtime group member John Prescott, of Group 6
Since 1984, AI Group 6 has had a regular spot in the Guelph weekly Saturday market for Amnesty Urgent Action petitions. About 20 members share the work. They sign up every 2 or 3 months for a first or second shift at the market, which runs from 7 am to noon. The group has never missed a shift in more than 35 years! If we were to miss one, we would lose our highly competitive market vendor place. The market charges $16 a week, mostly paid for by donations from group members and by some signers.
Each petition, usually a main one with a copy to the country’s ambassador, attracts about 70 signatures every week, suggesting that there have been a quarter of a million signatures since the project started. Most petitions come from the UA Network, since one of our members distributes these in Guelph to many of the market participants, but some petitions are taken from the AI Canada website.
Coordination of the group by a series of selfless coordinators over the years is by email, so it’s a relatively straightforward process. The group gets together about once a year, often to sign cards on Human Rights Day in December.
For many in Guelph, signing the weekly petition is a regular part of a visit to the market, something that keeps the Amnesty flame burning in the city.
Find out more about the Urgent Action Network here.