May 28 marked Amnesty International Day, serving as a reminder to us all to uphold and recognize the value of human rights. This week's blog highlights the origins of Amnesty, the importance of their work, and how it aligns with YWCA's mission.

”To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
- Nelson Mandela

Origins of Amnesty

Established in London in 1961, labor lawyer Peter Benenson was inspired after learning about two Portuguese students who had been imprisoned for seven years after toasting to freedom and liberty. He, alongside other academics, lawyers, and activist Eric Baker of the Religious Society of Friends, published an article in The Observer titled, "Forgotten Prisoners." This led to social uproar and an appeal, birthing an organization whose mission would work to uphold human rights for all people.

Human Rights

Why Amnesty and Our mission Matter

Our work, much like that of Amnesty, is to advance social justice because we believe that all people deserve to live in dignity, be free from violence, racism, and discrimination. Amnesty investigates and exposes abuses of power and fights injustices. Since 2009, YWCA has taken on the challenge of deepening the integration of racial equity and social justice in every aspect of our work. The Race and Social Justice Initiative ensures we uphold a culture that supports the elimination of all racist, sexist, and other discriminatory practices. This initiative also helps us understand the intersection of poverty, class, race, and gender. 

Revealing human rights violations is the focal point of Amnesty. Amnesty works to protect men, women, and children whose justice and dignity are denied. While Amnesty's work is on a global scale, their foundation and essence are much like YWCA's. Both agencies speak to people whose freedoms and dignity are under threat, whether it relates to housing, torture, sexual violence, gender, and/or racial discrimination. YWCA and Amnesty are part of a movement that strives to ensure that fundamental freedoms belong to every one of us.


How you can take action

This doesn't just have to be a day we celebrate. Everday is a human rights day because human rights violations occur every day. Do your bit and make a difference.  Support our work and make a donation. Your donation allows us to provide solutions to people experiencing homelessness in King and Snohomish Counties. Advocate by joining our movement that works to address institutional racism and gender disparities. Volunteer and put your passion for equal rights into action.

Race and Social Justice
Human Rights
Amnesty International
Equal Rights
Amnesty International Day
Salma Siddick

Salma Siddick is the Social Media & Content Manager at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. An immigrant from Zimbabwe, Salma has lived, worked, and attended school on three continents.


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Wed, 06/06/2018 - 12:37
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