Georgetown has lacked a permanent Amnesty International group since its main leadership graduated a few years ago. This semester, a group of eight proactive students decided to start the organization up again. Although they are not an officially recognized university group yet, they have been holding events and planning throughout this semester and into the fall.
Previous Amnesty groups petered out due to structural problems. “I think Amnesty failed in the past because it had a hierarchical structure. The leader really drove the group so when he graduated, the momentum died out and the group vanished for a couple years. The current board is organized so that we all drive the club collectively, tackling different parts of events, communications. I think that by creating a flat board and attracting members who are really passionate we can keep the club from disappearing after we all graduate,” Sophie Snowden (COL ’14), a board member, said in an email.
Amnesty speakers came to Georgetown last fall to host the “I am Troy Davis” event. Several students resolved to restart the Georgetown Amnesty chapter after this event, and had their initial meetings funded and hosted by the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Justice. “It’s really surprising that [Amnesty] hasn’t really been well established here,” Kayla Corcoran (COL ’15), a member of the board, said. “There are lots of specific groups targeted towards specific causes, but Amnesty is really great because it’s an umbrella organization for human rights, it can really be an outlet for everyone who’s interested in human rights.”