Amnesty International educates students through death penalty project


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Candice Anvari co-editor-in-chief 

Amnesty International club members will create a four percent poster this month to educate students about the death penalty and encourage students to advocate for its abolishment. 

Amnesty International is a human rights organization that fights against global injustices. Although Amnesty is a global organization, it has smaller chapters in schools throughout the U.S. The organization consists of priority campaigns, such as gun violence, and priority issues, such as the death penalty. Earlier this year, the Amnesty International club protested against social injustices through letter writing. 

President senior Defne Onal believes the death penalty is an “important” issue for the club to address this year because she doesn’t believe it is addressed frequently enough. 

“This project is important because we’re addressing an issue that most people are afraid to talk about,” Onal said. “Because it is such a controversial topic, people don’t address it as much. It would feel good for students at Beverly to engage with this project.” 

In preparation for their death penalty project, campaign coordinator senior Emma Newman will create a QR code that links to an infographic so students can easily access information about the topic. 

“This year, I got started on the project again because we had talked about doing a big poster last year of a four percent statistic,” Newman said. “Basically, the four percent statistic means that four percent of death penalty convicts have been either proven or estimated as being innocent, and so that was really powerful.”

On the national scale, Amnesty’s international organization is also discussing the death penalty throughout the month of March that its chapters will be able to watch to  gain more information about the topic.  

“Regarding the death penalty, Amnesty is holding a lot of Webinars addressing the issue, so they’re hosting a lot of people to discuss the issue with legislative coordinators and also supervisors,” Onal said. “There are several campaigns, but we’re mostly working in California.” 

Click on the arrows below to view a timeline of the history of the death penalty in California. 

Although Newman is hoping students will scan the QR code to educate themselves about the topic and find ways to help, she is “worried” that many students will not based on the general apathy she found through her research. 

“[There] has been general apathy among the public because as soon as someone hears the word ‘murder’ or something like that, they start thinking that they don’t really care if that person will be dead. It’s not that people think the death penalty is the best punishment–it’s just that people don’t care if it continues to exist,” Newman said. 

Club member senior Georgia Evensen is looking forward to the project because she believes the death penalty is an issue that needs to be brought to light. 

“I think this project is something that is very important and meaningful,” Evensen said. “I hope students take the time to get involved in some way.” 

Similar to Evensen, Newman hopes students get involved because part of the purpose of the project is to raise awareness. 

“The project itself is to give people the information and have people become advocates by signing a petition or telling their parents or something like that,” Newman said. “We want to help create a mindset that will eventually help bring an end to the death penalty.”  

Onal thinks that their club meeting to create the poster will take place this month. Students who are interested in working on the project can attend the meeting. Stay tuned for more updates to know when the meeting date is announced.