ATHENS, W.Va. – On behalf of Concord College President Jerry Beasley, Michael Curry, vice president for admissions and financial aid, welcomed Amnesty International (AI) representatives to Concord College. Jonathan Hutto, membership program coordinator for AI’s Mid-Atlantic region and Mona Cadena, field organizer from Washington, D.C., spoke to the standing-room-only crowd that included students, faculty, staff and members of the community.
Curry spoke of Jane Kennedy, an imprisoned nurse who observed the way women—particularly pregnant women—were mistreated. Some had no physicians and were shackled. Many complaints came from women in prison where privileges such as meals or showers were withheld unless sexual favors with those in control were performed. This had a personal impact on him and he made a promise to himself that if he ever had the opportunity to promote AI that he would do so.
Hutto opened the presentation with a brief video about the history of AI and the Declaration of Human Rights, a document supported by the United Nations (UN). Most members of the UN are members of AI. He also pointed out that people in the US are sometimes unaware of problems that exist in their own back yard. For example, incidents of rape and sexual abuse are extremely common in US prisons. Yet, according the Justice Department statistics, only ten prison employees in the entire federal system were disciplined in 1997 for sexual misconduct and only seven were prosecuted. Seventy percent of the guards in federal women’s prisons are male.
Cadena spoke about alleged incidents in McDowell, Summers and Wayne Counties in West Virginia. AI is working in West Virginia and nationally to protect human rights. Moreover, she stated, AI will train law enforcement officers on human rights issues with a focus on awareness and prevention.
The AI event was organized by Abhishek Singh with the Concord College chapter of Amnesty International. For more information about Concord’s chapter of AI, call 1-304-384-3323 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Amnesty International Literature: Amnesty International is an independent worldwide movement working impartially for the release of all prisoners of conscience, fair and prompt trials for political prisoners and an end to torture and executions. It is funded by donations from its members and supporters throughout the world. Founded in 1961, Amnesty International is a Nobel Prize winning grassroots activist organization with over one million members worldwide. Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) is the U.S. Section of this international human rights movement. Log on to http://www.amnesty-usa.org for more information about AI.