When people ask me what it is about Amnesty’s work that excites me the most, I simply say: “All of it. I’m passionate about it all.”
I cannot pick and choose which cases or issues most inspire me.
I am both horrified to hear about the crackdown on women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, and encouraged that Malaysian prisoner of conscience, Anwar Ibrahim, is finally celebrating his freedom after 20 years. I am proud of the work that we have accomplished so far on missing and murdered Indigenous women, and grateful that we continued to speak out for Bashir Makhtal, who finally returned home on April 21 after being wrongly imprisoned in Ethiopia for more than 11 years.
My journey with Amnesty started more than 30 years ago after visiting a campus display on prisoners of conscience from Central Africa. An overpowering sense of outrage compelled me to join the Amnesty group on campus instantly.
I have never looked back since then, and I remain deeply committed to Amnesty’s work today.
Amnesty presents me with a way to be part of the solution. I can make a donation, write letters, and take action online. I can speak out at countless demonstrations. I can also get more involved by helping organize a Write for Rights event on December 10, or even serve on the board.
I consider it an absolute privilege to be part of Amnesty—and we are making changes through our work! I know first-hand, because I’ve had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the prisoners we’ve helped to free. One of my most memorable moments was meeting General Gallardo in Mexico. He had been in prison for nearly eight years for proposing human rights reforms in the Mexican Army. I still remember when he walked in, bringing boxes of thousands of letters and cards that people like you and me had written to him.
“I owe my freedom and my family’s safety to Amnesty International,” he said.
This brought it full circle for me.
General Gallardo left us all with one crucial message to take home: “Keep doing the work you are doing; justice is slow but it happens in the end.”
This is what reminds me, even 15 years after meeting him, that results do not happen overnight. I want my commitment to Amnesty’s work to be more than lifelong. This is why leaving a gift in my will to Amnesty for tomorrow is just as vital as the volunteer work I am doing today.
If you are interested in finding out more about how to leave a gift in your will to Amnesty International, please visit www.amnesty.ca/legacy or contact Hala Al-Madi at 613-744-7667 ext 223, or firstname.lastname@example.org.