Over the past weekend, Wilmington’s own Amnesty International Chapter attended the Midwest Regional Conference that was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While the whole group was not able to attend, five members drove and represented Wilmington and what the organization had accomplished on campus.
On October 25th, Amnesty had officially passed a resolution on campus stating that Wilmington “declared its support for the resettlement of refugees no matter their religion, race, nationality or country, or origin…” With the Student Government Association’s (SGA) approval, Wilmington is the first campus in the Midwest region to pass this resolution, which allowed Wilmington students a chance to help students from other campus’ who were eager to pass the same resolution.
“When we decided to work on a refugee resolution the task seemed incredibly intimidating,” says Amnesty-Wilmington Vice President, Emma Marks. “Thankfully, with trial, error, and a whole lot of help, we were able to build a campaign that fit our campus’s culture.”
“With trial, error, and a whole lot of help, we were able to build a campaign that fit our campus’s culture.” – Emma Marks, VP of Amnesty-Wilmington
One of Amnesty’s main advantages when passing this resolution was that almost every member was a part of a different organization. With this diversity, members were able to represent the support of other organizations in front of SGA when asking to pass the resolution.
“Wilmington is a small campus but it was still amazing to see how many of our members had access to other organizations,” says Amnesty-Wilmington President, Carly Pritchard. “It was one of those beautiful and reassuring moments that made us feel like ‘okay, this is possible.’”
Throughout the conference, Amnesty chapters from all over the Midwest were able to come together and talk about ways to better their chapters on campus, listen to speakers, and learn about tools that will help each individual become a better activist both inside and outside of Amnesty.
With this only being the second year of the Amnesty group’s revival on Wilmington’s campus, members knew the Midwest conference was important in order to network and learn from other chapters that had more experience. Wilmington students were not hesitant when it came to asking questions and answering them which allowed long lasting friendships to be born.
“Just being there with people that were all on the same page as you was humbling,” says Shea Mercer, Amnesty-Wilmington treasurer. “Plus being in a new city with friends was really cool.”
“Just being there with people that were all on the same page as you was humbling” – Shea Mercer, Amnesty-Wilmington treasurer
With the tools and connections Amnesty-Wilmington has gained from the Midwest conference, students plan on getting the word out and advising students to contact their representatives about the refugee crisis.
“We were able to teach other chapters the lessons that we had learned passing out own resolution and learn about new cases and campaigns to bring back to campus,” says Marks. “I am certain that the passion we cultivated at the conference will energize our future human rights campaign.”