May

Amnesty International Bath Spa Group

Jasmine Raymond-Barker, President of the Amnesty International Bath Spa group, shares the latest on the group's work and explains how you can get involved.

Who we are

A logo depicting a candle wrapped in barbed wire with the letters BSU beneathWe decided to form our society in 2021 because we felt there should be a casual space at our university for students to be able to have an open conversation on humanitarian issues – especially ones close to their hearts. Amnesty International seemed like the perfect fit. It’s a human rights defence organisation, with a big existing student network, that facilitates the movement of ordinary people standing up for human rights wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.

Our group discusses matters raised to us, by running and contributing to meetings, hosting accessible events and fundraisers (like our recent live music events) and creating resources on requested or topical subjects. We’re also very happy to take students’ voices and direct them to those they want it heard by. Our main focus is on presenting information on human rights in an accessible way that isn’t too detailed, dense or heavy. We all have to live, study, work and have fun while remaining informed.

Holding fundraisers like gigs, movie nights and bake sales allow students to get involved and find out more if they would like to. It can be very overwhelming to think too much about global issues, so we are mindful that people need to take care of their mental health and uplift themselves with cake or good music!

Our campaigns and the action we're taking

We’re currently planning campaigns on Gender Identity and Anti-Sexual Harassment by popular interest. We’ll be on the team helping to organise Bath Spa Pride on Saturday 7 May 2022 too – so mark your calendar! Finally, there will be ‘ROCK for Trans Youth’ in June: a music gig fundraiser for the Transgender Law Centre. Details to be announced, but again, stay tuned.

As for what we’ve been doing recently, we have put together a basic resource on the Russia/Ukraine conflict for students, after a panel event we were a part of in March where academics spoke on their specialist subjects relating to the conflict. From there, we’ve garnered a basic historical, political, economic and social viewpoint to share with students who are looking to be more informed on the current situation we’re in nationally and internationally.

We’re providing resources on what’s happening, what’s being done by the Disaster Emergency Committee as well as by Amnesty, and what you can do to help personally. We staffed a booth for a student organised #standwithukraine gig at Komedia on Friday 11 March, where we handed out the above-described resource, and the event raised over £2800! Standing in solidarity with Ukraine will continue to be a priority as we continue to prove that you can make a difference if we all work together. Follow @amnestybathspa on Instagram if you’d like to learn more.

But, we do have a lot of subject matter to cover that doesn’t make British national news every day. There’s a lot happening globally, even without the Ukraine conflict. For example, we’ve also been providing resources to promote conversation and awareness on the apartheid currently being carried out against Palestinians in Israel. This conflict is an example of a social issue that may not seem to affect the UK in a direct way, distanced geographically and culturally – despite Israel’s democratic and western-inspired integration with the international community. We have some more information on this and other campaigns on our Instagram and at the Amnesty International website.

The group is going to be holding #BakingForPalestine sales in the coming months to raise awareness and funds. This way, we find we’re able to bring some cheer to humanitarian work and make the subject matter of human rights issues more approachable, and therefore easier for students to contribute towards.

We’re open to suggestions for activities on specific subjects and we’re always keen to involve other students in these events. If you have a passion and an interest, keep an eye out for ways in which you could participate.

Get involved!

If you’re keen to join the discussion on topics like those I have touched on in this blog, that you may not hear about otherwise, then please do get in touch about joining our group. It’s best to find us on Instagram, but you can also drop us an email at amnestysoc@bathspasu.co.uk.

We aim to raise funds and awareness for the human rights issues that affect students and we’re facilitating an accessible space for you to do that too. Look out for us – we’ve got exciting things coming, perhaps involving outdoor acoustic sets and a BBQ...!

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.

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