February 14th: Amnesty members take up the call to “Have a Heart”

Amnesty International members across Canada have responded enthusiastically to the call to “Have a Heart” for First Nations children.

“Have a Heart” is an annual campaign organized by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada that takes place on and around Valentine’s Day, February 14th.

The campaign’s message is simple: First Nations children have the right grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and be proud of their cultures. And getting involved can be as easy as sending a card or letter with this message to the Prime Minister or your Member of Parliament.

Amnesty members across Canada are already writing letters, on their own, with family and friends, and in larger public events.

In the Toronto area alone, 11 Amnesty International community and campus groups are getting together to hold letter-writing events. This includes a public event at the Amnesty International office in Toronto on February 13th organized by the Action Network on Women’s Human Rights.

Amnesty International is encouraging all its members, supporters and allies to take part in this important action.

Independent studies, including reports by the Auditor General of Canada, have confirmed that government support for crucial services in First Nations communities is simply not adequate to meet basic needs. For example, funding allocated in the critical area of family services is more than 20 percent lower on a per child basis for families on reserves.

Government officials often talk about the money being spent on services on First Nations but lack the political will needed to ensure that this funding is equitable and meeting the real needs of First Nations children and families.

That’s why it’s so important that Canadians from all walks of life taking this opportunity to express their support for the clear and simple message at the heart of this action.

Watch Cindy Blackstock’s compelling video appeal here