View speaker schedule
View flash mob schedule
Toronto will play host to a very special letter-writing afternoon at the Toronto Reference Library, between 12pm and 7pm. Participants can stop by at any point during the day, which features guest speakers every hour on the hour.
And in the evening, you’re invited to take part in a very special flash mob event (jump to flash mob times here)!
Schedule of speakers for the day
1:00pm – Rev. Brent Hawkes
First clergy in Canada to perform gay marriage, presenting Jean-Claude Mbede‘s case.
2:00pm – Bill Gillespie
Former CBC Radio Correspondent and Amnesty Canada Media Awards winner in 2008 – presenting the case for Natalia Estemirova
3:00pm – Mary Ambrose
Independent Writer and former Guest Host of CBC’s “As it Happens”. She’ll be presenting Jenni Williams and WOZA’s case.
4:00pm – Nino Ricci
Order of Canada, Writer – Presenting Nasrin Sotoudeh‘s case
5:00pm – Kathy Price
From Amnesty International Canada
5:45pm – Antonella Mega
Wife of Canadian-Iranian, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall
She’ll be speaking about hers and Hamid’s fight, and is presenting Mohammad Kabudvand‘s case.
6:30pm – Brendan de Caires
PEN Canada – special message from Nasrin and toast
MC for the evening is Jayne Patterson, long time friend of Amnesty and AITO volunteer
Recognizing that America’s own record on LGBT equality is “far from perfect,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on nations around the world to recognize that “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” during a speech in Geneva, Switzerland this afternoon. Clinton’s address builds on a memorandum President Obama issued earlier today directing all agencies to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”
Clinton also announced that the administration is launching a $3 million global equality fund to support the work of civil society organizations working on these issues around the world. The fund will help human rights groups “record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other Human Rights groups,” Clinton said.
Some highlights from the speech:
- “Like being a woman, like being a racial religious tribal or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are gay rights.”
- “Well, in reality, gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes, and whether we know it or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends and our neighbors.”
- “Some believe homosexuality is a Western phenomenon… but gay people belong to every society in the world…. Being gay is not a Western invention, it is a human reality.”
- “In all countries, there are costs to not protecting these rights, in both gay and straight lives lost to disease and violence and the silencing of voices and views that would strengthen communities and ideas never pursued by entrepreneurs who happen to be gay. Costs are incurred whenever any group is treated as lesser or the other whether they are women, racial or religious minorities or the LGBT.”
- “Our commitment to protect the freedom of religion and defend LGBT people come from a common source… Human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.”
- “It should never be a crime to be gay.”
- “To LGBT men and women worldwide: Wherever you live and whatever your circumstances… please know that you are not alone.”
- “Those who advocate for expanding the circle of human rights were and are on the right side of history, and history honors them… We are called once more to make real the words of the universal declaration. Let us be on the right side of history.”
Toronto Shines a Light
On Dec. 10th, Toronto will be Shining a Light on human rights – and you’re invited to join in!Toronto will play host to a very special letter-writing afternoon at the Toronto Reference Library, between 12pm and 7pm. Participants can stop by at any point during the day, which features guest speakers every hour on the hour.
And in the evening, you’re invited to take part in a very special flash mob event!
Saturday December 10th
Intersection of Yonge and Bloor St.
Meet at the Write for Rights event inside the Toronto Reference Library
Flash mob begins! All participants will gather in the intersection of Yonge and Bloor Streets when four-way-traffic has stopped, and will blow whistles and shine flashlights on an image of Jabbar Savalan. To explain to passersby what the event is about, we will pass out candles and wish them Happy Human Rights Day. Each candle will be wrapped with a short note about Write for Rigts, will feature Jabbar’s case and will be tied with yellow and black ribbon.
AMNESTY CANADA WRITEATHON
Amnesty International members, letter writers, and human rights supporters across Canada and around the world are getting ready to mark Human Rights Day, December 10th, by taking part in Write for Rights.
This is a special year for Amnesty International — our 50th anniversary — and we are planning an even bigger, more exciting, and more impactful event to mark the year’s most important date for human rights.
Please join us in writing a letter on human rights day — it’s a simple act that can save a life!
Shine A Light on Human Rights Defenders
Your words can be a SPOTLIGHT that exposes the dark corners of the torture chamber. They can bring POWER to a human rights defender whose life is in jeopardy. They can IGNITE hope in a forgotten prisoner.
Join hundreds of thousands of people around the world in marking International Human Rights Day this December by taking part in Amnesty International's Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon - the world's largest human rights event. Through letters, cards and more, we take action to demand that the human rights of individuals are respected, protected and fulfilled. We show solidarity with those suffering human rights abuses, and work to bring about positive change in people's lives.
The activists of the human rights organization Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) know the price of freedom. For organizing peaceful demonstrations to protest the worsening social, economic and political situation in Zimbabwe, WOZA members have been repeatedly harassed, intimidated, beaten and jailed by authorities. For years, government officials have misused the law to arbitrarily arrest and detain human rights activists and perceived critics of the President's political party. WOZA activists have been arrested multiple times, forced into Zimbabwe's notoriously filthy, over-crowded, and disease-ridden jails. Yet, they remain undaunted in their pursuit of dignity and justice.
According to Immanuel Kant, the urge to philosophize is universal: “In all men, as soon as their reason has become ripe for speculation, there has always existed and will always continue to exist some kind of metaphysics.” The truth of this is apparent in children at any early age, whose questions exhaust even the most profound and patient of parents. But it does not follow that there must inevitably be a place for philosophy in our educational systems. It is rare in the United States, for instance, to encounter philosophy before college, and rare outside Catholic universities for philosophy to be required in college. (It was a pleasant feature of a recent year spent living in Morocco to find that almost everyone there, from pharmacists to cab drivers, had a basic grasp of what philosophy is, acquired from their high school days. In this country, in contrast, even well-educated people often have little idea of what philosophy actually consists.) At the university, we think of philosophy as an essential offering in the humanities. But there is nothing inevitable even about this, as reflection on the history of the subject reveals.Philosophy, as it is generally studied in the modern university, springs from ancient Greece and the writings of Plato and Aristotle. The various famous ancient schools long thrived during the Hellenic and Roman eras, but then slowly faded away during the sixth century CE. There followed several centuries of darkness—a true Dark Ages, as much as medievalists dislike the phrase—until philosophical forms of thought began to reemerge in the ninth century. Around the same time, one finds distinct and quite independent philosophical movements afoot in Byzantium, in Latin Western Europe, and in the Islamic world. In time, the Latin tradition would become ascendant, as fostered within the European university and eventually reinvigorated by the Enlightenment and the rise of modern science.