Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIX Number 6, June 2011


Thursday, June 23, 7:30 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. Caltech Y is located off San Pasqual 
between Hill and Holliston, south side. You 
will see two curving walls forming a gate to a 
path-- our building is just beyond. Help us 
plan future actions on Sudan, the 'War on 
Terror', death penalty and more.  

Tuesday, July 12, 7:30 PM .  Letter writing 
meeting. We will meet at the "Rath al Fresco" 
of the Caltech Athenaeum, NW corner of Hill 
and California, in Pasadena. This is on the 
lawn behind the building. Look for the table 
with the Amnesty sign. This informal 
gathering is a great way for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty!   

Sunday, July 17, 6:30PM.  Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion group.  This 
month we read "A China more Just" by Gao 


Hi everyone

It's been a quiet peaceful weekend...nice cool 
weather.  One more week of school left!  But 
who's counting, right?!
Next month's book on our POC, Gao Zhisheng, 
looks really interesting.  I look forward to 
reading his autobiography and learning more 
about his life and work.
Robert, myself, and Joyce attended the 22nd 
annual Tiananmen Square commemoration 
dinner in Chinatown Memorial Day weekend.  
This was the first time I have gone.  The food 
was good, the speakers interesting, and we saw 
some old friends from other AI groups that we 
hadn't seen in awhile.
Speaking of other AI groups be sure to read 
Lucas Kamp's account of the OCLA (Organizing 
City Los Angeles) event held recently.  Four 
Group 22 members attended, including myself.  
It was a very enjoyable day.  Kala is a very 
dynamic organizer and made it fun for all.

Con carino, Kathy


Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting: 
Sunday, July 17,  6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd.
 In Pasadena

A China More Just
by Gao Zhisheng

About the Author 

Group 22 adopted the case of human rights 
lawyer Gao Zhisheng (pronounced Gow Jir-
sheng) in March of 2010. Gao is the author of  A 
China More Just. In 2001, Gao Zhisheng was 
named one of China's "top 10 lawyers" by the 
Ministry of Justice. But since his human rights 
advocacy angered the authorities, he and his 
family have seen their lives torn apart. After 
Gao Zhisheng wrote a series of "Open letters for 
Justice" in late 2005 calling on China's leaders to 
stop the persecution of the spiritual group Falun 
Gong, he lost his lawyer's license and he and his 
family faced constant harassment by security 
In early 2006, he organized a hunger strike to 
draw attention to human rights abuses and later 
that year  received a suspended three-year 
prison sentence for "inciting subversion", with 
one year deprivation of political rights. The 
authorities have kept Gao Zhisheng and his 
family under constant surveillance ever since. 
On 13 September 2007, Gao Zhisheng wrote an 
open letter to the US Congress saying he did not 
support the country's staging of the 2008 
Olympics. Nine days later, plainclothes police 
officers came to his home, stripped him naked 
and beat him unconscious. He was held 
incommunicado for nearly six weeks and 
subjected to beatings and repeated electric 
shocks to his genitals. After he was released his 
acquaintances described him as "a broken man".  
In February 2009, shortly after his wife and 
children fled China, Gao Zhisheng was taken 
away by security agents and disappeared 
completely. International pressure for 
information about him elicited confusing 
answers from Chinese officials, claiming first 
that he had gone missing and then that he "was 
where he was supposed to be". 
On March 31, 2010, he suddenly reappeared in 
northern China. During his brief contacts with 
the outside world, he said that he was giving up 
activism and now wished only to be reunited 
with his family. But only a few weeks later, 
before his wish could be realized, he again 
disappeared, reportedly into police custody. 
Enquiries from his family and friends have met 
with no answers from Chinese authorities.  
For more information and to take action on 
Gao's case please visit Amnesty International 
Group 22's Gao Zhisheng page.

By Kerry Brown
A review of "A China More Just: My Fight as a 
Rights  Lawyer in the World's Largest 
Communist State" By Gao Zhisheng
Broad Press USA, 2007
255 pages, US$14.95

China has received reasonably positive press 
over the last few years. Part of this is due to the 
energy and focus that the Chinese government, 
and its officials and diplomats, have given to 
soft diplomacy campaigns. Soft diplomacy has 
in turn been backed up by generous amounts of 
aid to and investment in the developing world. 
China is keen to make friends.
This approach is likely to intensify in the build 
up to the Beijing Olympics. China will want to 
extract every ounce of goodwill and positive 
news coverage it can from the Games. Thus, in 
its reaction to the resignation of Steven Spielberg 
as an artistic advisor for the opening and closing 
ceremonies, China was both defensive and 
irritated. This demonstrates that reminders of 
the other China--the hidden China, or, to be 
more accurate, the dark side of modern China--
are not welcome, at least by the central 

Self-trained lawyer Gao Zhisheng's account 
comes from this "other China."His is a tale of a 
Communist Party member who came from the 
poorest groups of Chinese society. He lost his 
father as a child and was dependent on the work 
of his mother, growing up in the hinterland of 
China in the 1960s and 70s in the midst of 
widespread poverty and deprivation. But Gao, 
through hard work and dedication, was to enjoy 
at least some education, and during a period of 
work in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, 
discovered a talent for law. He qualified as a 
lawyer in the 1990s, and started practicing on 
some of the most difficult, sensitive cases.
His inspiration, originally, was the sight of 
injustices perpetrated in the work place where 
he was based in his early career. This exposure 
motivated him to empower himself through the 
study of law, and to become active in cases that 
he felt involved exploitation of others. For this 
his reward has been harassment by agents of the 
state, and, most recently, imprisonment. His 
current whereabouts and situation remain unclear.

"A China More Just" consists of autobiographical 
writings, letters, and diary entries. An 
additional piece is written by Gao's wife. Gao 
describes how he came to be interested in law, 
how he gained qualifications, and what drew 
him to the difficult cases he has taken on. In the 
past, Gao has defended Falun Gong 
practitioners, those harassed or imprisoned by 
the state for property repossession disputes, and 
individuals like the blind activist Chen 
Guangcheng, who is currently imprisoned on 
trumped-up charges for criticizing forced 

In one case in Liaoning Province, Gao dealt with 
Falun Gong believers who had been severely 
beaten and detained without due legal process, 
and received a beating himself for getting 
involved. He has also taken up cases in both 
Beijing and provincial China involving people 
whose property was taken from them without 
proper compensation. As Gao points out, 
China's legal system sets out clear rules in all of 
these cases. These rules were simply not 
followed by the so-called officers of the state in 
specific regions.  Arbitrary arrest, perverse 
decisions, lack of transparency, and blatantly 
political decisions all seem par for the course in 
Gao's description of the underbelly of modern 

As a result of Gao's activities, as many as 70 
security police have been posted outside his 
apartment in Beijing, and he has been followed 
by cars and army vehicles, one of which almost 
killed him. His friends and associates have been 
intimidated and his legal practice shut down. 
Gao's description of this sort of intimidation and 
psychological pressureĐincluding one attempt 
in Beijing to run his car off the roadĐis 
particularly disturbing. As has happened so 
often in the past, the agents of the darker 
reaches of the state have proved adept at 
isolating their targets and making them feel of 
the weak. This book gives first hand 
descriptions of that. It is written from the unique 
perspective of a person trying to change China 
from the inside out, rather than the other way 
around. And Gao's account of the punishments 
meted out to practitioners of Falun Gong, 
whatever one might think of their beliefs or 
practices, offers plenty of food for thought for 
those trying to make sense of the new, bold 
China put on display.

As Gao himself makes clear, he is intensely 
proud of his country, and of its culture and 
history. In his view, however, China will only 
really stand up, as Mao Zedong promised in 
1949, when it becomes a country where the law 
is respected above politics.

It is important, therefore, to read the sobering 
reminders of books like these. China has come a 
long way in the last three decades. No one 
disputes its economic success. A middle class is 
thriving and its members are increasingly 
flexing their muscles. In last year's National 
Party Congress, China's leaders clearly 
mentioned the "importance of people's 
welfare," and the need for the Party to serve 
society. Chinese people enjoy freedoms they 
never imagined in the grim Maoist period before 
1976, and increasing numbers are suing the 
government over grievances ranging from 
environmental pollution to miscarriages of 
justice. But there are still creaking contradictions 
in this system.  All too often, the strong--largely 
those in the Communist Party--are able to ride 
roughshod over the rights of the weak. This 
book gives first hand descriptions of that. It is 
written from the unique perspective of a person 
trying to change China from the inside out, 
rather than the other way around. 

Gao's fundamental point is surely right: until 
China has a credible rule of law, and Chinese 
citizens have better access to justice--and, for 
that matter, confidence that the security 
apparatus of the state won't be turned against 
them--it is hard to take seriously China's claims 
to be a modern, developing society. Despite 
China's modernization, the bottom line in 2008 
is that when there is a conflict between the 
political power of the Communist Party and 
China's legal system, the Party always wins.

by Joyce Wolf

Gao Zhisheng, Group 22's adopted Prisoner of 
Conscience, was named in House Minority 
Leader Nancy Pelosi's statement marking the 
22nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square 
Massacre on June 4. She said, "Today, as the 
heroes of Tiananmen are remembered, the 
Chinese government intensifies its crackdown 
on those calling for democratic reform. In recent 
months, an alarming number of Chinese 
religious leaders, artists, lawyers, bloggers and 
workers have disappeared, been harassed and 
intimidated, forcibly detained and imprisoned." 
She called for the immediate and unconditional 
release of "those imprisoned for exercising their 
rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and 
religion including ... Gao Zhisheng: a human 
rights lawyer who has been missing for two 

Human Rights Watch researcher Phelim Kine 
compared the current crackdown to Tiananmen: 
"At least back then, there was a veneer of due 
legal process. What we've seen more and more 
is the lawless and thuggish use of forced 
disappearances to silence the forces of dissent."

An article by Tom Doctoroff in the Huffington 
Post offers interesting insights into China's 
worldview. "Everything that registers on 
China's international -- and, for that matter, 
domestic -- radar does so because it, directly or 
indirectly, impacts stability. Pragmatic to the 
core, the PRC cherishes one thing above all else: 
order." He mentions "defense attorney Gao 
Zhisheng" as one of those arrested because of 
their public criticism of the Communist Party. 
He concludes, "In China, pragmatism (i.e., 
incremental progression towards attainable 
objectives) is golden. Stability is sublime."

Changes in China's legal system are discussed in 
this article:
"During the 1980s and 1990s, Chinese 
authorities substituted court procedures for 
much of the Maoist-inspired practices ╔ while 
new rules added procedural formality to trials. 
Legal education was less politicized." Now, 
however, "the Chinese leadership is allowing 
social tensions, real or feared, to reverse its 
earlier commitment to legal reform." 

Gao Zhisheng wrote about his legal career in his 
2006 book, "A China More Just", which is Group 
22's book selection for July. Please join us for the 
book discussion and take action for Gao at

by Cheri Dellelo

 Fighting the Ban on Women Driving in Saudi Arabia
(sources: from,, and, and The Guardian)

In Saudi Arabia, there is no written ban against 
women driving. However, it is illegal for 
women to obtain a driver's license in the 
country, making it effectively illegal for them to 
drive. Most families have at least one driver, or 
if they can't afford one, they have a male family 
member do the driving. Some of the women 
have learned how to drive and have received 
licenses to drive in other countries, but these 
licenses are not honored in Saudi Arabia. It 
would be not only timesaving but also 
extremely cost-effective for women to do their 
own driving. However, conservatives against 
this form of progress have launched campaigns 
encouraging people to beat women who attempt 
to drive.

On, May 19, Manal al-Sharif posted a Youtube 
video of herself driving and encouraging others 
to do the same ( 
and was arrested for her rebellion. Al-Sharif, 
who has been compared by some activists to 
Rosa Parks, has inspired more women to defy 
the ban on driving. June 17 marked the date 
that, urged by Alsharf, roughly 50 women got 
behind steering wheels to drive around in Saudi 
Arabia in protest. 

On June 17, one of the themes that emerged 
throughout the day was that many of the 
women drivers were accompanied by men--
fathers, husbands, brothers and sons--to ensure 
their protection. And, thankfully, there were no 
reports of mass arrests, and except for two 
women who were stopped and then let go after 
signing a pledge, it seemed that the police 
largely decided to ignore the female drivers. 
Most of the country's national press did not 
cover the story. 

Manal al-Sharif was freed from the women's 
prison in Dammam after being held for nine 
days. Before her release, she had said she hoped 
that her action would encourage women to 
demand more rights, but upon her release, 
Sharif's lawyer, Adnan al-Salah, said "she wrote 
a pledge that she will not drive a car, and after 
what has happened she has decided to give up 
the campaign and not be part of the protests." 

Please show your support of a repeal of the ban 
against women driving in Saudi Arabia by 
going to's website and signing 
a petition that will go to His Majesty, King 
Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and Minister 
of Justice Dr. Muhammad bin Abdul El Karim 
Abdul Azziz El Issa - You can also sign a 
petition asking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 
to make a public statement supporting Saudi 
women's right to drive at's website- 

 Belarusian Human Rights Journalist Iryna 
Khalip Imprisoned
(adapted from

Iryna Khalip is a Belarusian journalist and 
correspondent for the Russian newspaper 
'Novaya Gazeta.' In 2009, she won the 
International Women's Media Foundation 
"Courage in Journalism" Award, and, in 2005, 
she was nominated by Time Magazine as a "Hero 
of Europe."On May 16, 2011, she was found 
guilty of "taking part or organizing the actions 
that violate public order" and was sentenced to 
2 years in a penal colony. The court decided to 
suspend the sentence for 2 years, and she was 
released in the courtroom. Then she was 
arrested on December 19, 2010, after a protest 
rally in Minsk following the presidential 

Following her December arrest, Khalip was 
detained at a KGB (State Security Agency) pre-
trial detention facility where she had very 
limited access to her lawyer. On January 29, 
2011, she was placed under house arrest, denied 
any contact with the outside world, and 
forbidden from having any contact with her 
relatives apart from her parents and three-year-
old son. On May 14, 2011, she was condemned 
to 5 years' imprisonment for organizing "mass 
disorder." It is believed that the sentencing is 
directly related to Khalip's legitimate and 
peaceful work as a journalist in defense of 
human rights, particularly with regard to 
freedom of expression.

Please consider sending a letter to Belarus 
President Aleksandr Lukashenka asking that he 
overturn Khalip's sentence; guarantee her 
security and physical and mental health; and 
ensure that all human rights defenders in 
Belarus be able to carry out their legitimate and 
peaceful human rights activities without fear of 
reprisals or harassment. A sample letter and 
address can be found at's website -

 Online Butterfly Action for Women and Girls 
in Nicaragua at Risk
(adapted from: AIUSA Human Rights Now 

In Nicaragua, girls are especially vulnerable to 
rape and sexual violence.  Two thirds of rape 
victims are under 18, and the most common 
cases are for girls between the ages of 13 and 15. 
These devastating acts of sexual violence and 
rape are part of a broader trend of the 
devaluation of women and girls in Nicaragua.  
Since 2008, the government has enforced a total 
abortion ban, criminalizing abortion in all 
circumstances; there are no exceptions for rape, 
incest, or when a woman's life is at risk. The 
government's refusal to lift the total abortion 
ban, its refusal to increase steps to prevent 
sexual abuse and rape of women and girls, and 
its refusal to provide adequate care and support 
to survivors is a failure to ensure women and 
girl's freedom from violence, freedom of 
autonomy, and freedom from discrimination, 
and it violates their fundamental human rights. 

In Nicaragua, those who speak out against such 
discrimination are at risk: women human rights 
defenders in Nicaragua working to promote 
women's rights and sexual and reproductive 
rights have been increasingly harassed by 
officials. Despite this, the women of Nicaragua 
will not be silenced. On September 28, they are 
planning a march in Nicaragua to demand the 
repeal of the total abortion ban and an end to 
violence against women and girls.  You can join 
them by sending a message of solidarity through 
the online butterfly action -  

 Join the AI USA Women's Human Rights 
Network on Facebook

The AI USA Women's Human Rights Network 
on Facebook is network of women's human 
rights defenders made up of AI USA supporters 
and volunteers. Led by the Women's Human 
Rights Coordination group, a small team of 
activists serving as experts and strategists in 
support of AIUSA's efforts to promote and 
defend women's human rights, the Women's 
Human Rights Network takes action and 
promotes awareness in collaboration with AI 
USA staff, country specialists, and experts in 
other areas of human rights. If you are 
interested in joining their action network, 'like' 
their page at 



On Sunday, June 5, 2011, people from the Los 
Angeles Valley filled the Paul Schrade Library at 
the Robert Kennedy Community Schools, 
formerly the Ambassador Hotel, to discuss the 
death penalty and our justice/prison system.  
This discussion, mediated by James Clark of the 
ACLU, included Professor Charles Ogletree, 
Bishop Charles E. Blake, the Reverend Eugene 
Rivers, and Aqeela Sherrills.  Dolores Huerta, 
who worked with Cesar Chavez and the Farmer 
Workers Union and is currently the president of 
the Dolores Huerta Foundation, also spoke as 
well as Paul Schrade, formerly the regional 
director of the United Auto Workers Union who 
was the labor chair of RFK's presidential 
campaign, who attended meetings with RFK, 
including a meeting with Cesar Chavez in 
Delano, and who was with RFK, and also 
injured, at the Ambassador when Mr. Kennedy 
was assassinated on June 5, 1968.   

Paul Schrade worked for 23 years to see that a 
school was erected on the site of Robert F. 
Kennedy's murder.  He understood the 
importance of education for all youngsters in the 
United States played in RFK's life.  Regarding 
the school, which Mr. Schrade believes will help 
youngsters realize the potential of their lives, he 
says, "Art is really a part of our humanity" and 
the school will allow kids to explore their 
talents, whatever they may be, so that they will 
have meaningful lives and not end up in our 
judicial and prison system.

Much of the afternoon's discussion revolved 
around the inordinate number of black and 
brown brothers and sisters who are incarcerated, 
what challenges brought them to the prison 
doors, and what, especially the church, can do 
about these situations.

Professor Ogletree told us about the murder of 
his sister, and his internal conflict about his 
being a public defender and his desire to have 
that crime prosecuted.  After searching his soul, 
he realized the death penalty for the person who 
killed his sister would bring him no solace.  He 
also came to understand that poverty, abuse, 
neglect and mental illness are at the core of so 
much of the crime committed in our country.  
Now that the US Supreme Court has ruled that 
California prisons are overcrowded and that 
overcrowding is 'cruel and unusual' for inmates 
with serious mental and serious medical 
conditions, the California prison system's 
population must be decreased by 46,000 inmates 
within the next two years to relieve this 
overcrowding.  Professor Ogletree noted that the 
written opinion of the court includes 
photographs to illustrate the situation (see
9-1233.pdf pages 51 and 52).  This influx of freed 
convicts will present challenges for the 
communities into which they will return.

The Reverend Eugene Rivers said the brothers 
and sisters returning from prison offer members 
of faith communities the opportunity to address 
the former inmates' needs.  Faith communities, 
as living examples of the gospel message, can 
address the needs of the returning convicts 
while developing methods for aiding children 
whose parents have been incarcerated.  
According to Rev. Rivers, seven out of 10 
children of imprisoned parents end up 
incarcerated themselves.  These youngsters need 
adults to guide them.  His plan includes people 
who can 'mentor, minister, and monitor' these 
children through this difficult time and help 
them opt for more productive, peaceful lives.

Rev. Rivers believes prisoners suffer the effects 
of mental, psychological, and sexual abuse and 
until these injuries can be addressed, deep, long-
lasting healing cannot occur.

Aqeela Sherrills has lived through the kind of 
violence that has filled the lives of many of  the 
people who fill our more than two million 
prison beds in the United States.  After a 
number of his friends died from gang violence 
in the 1980s, Mr. Sherrills worked to broker a 
peace treaty between the Bloods and the Crips.  
Sadly his oldest son, Terrell, was shot to death in 
2004 after his first year at Humbolt State 
University.  Despite the violent deaths that have 
punctuated Mr. Sherrills life, he is an outspoken 
opponent of the death penalty.  He believes that 
we human beings have the capacity to change.  
Transformative change is what he lives for as he 
works to address the injuries Rev. Rivers thinks 
must be dealt with for those who commit these 
crimes to become penitents.  

Dolores Huerta underscored the sentiments of 
the other speakers when she agreed that nobody 
is present to help especially young people when 
they get out of prison.  They need education and 
jobs.  If a person is convicted of murder and 
released, he or she can get food stamps and 
money for schooling; if that same person is 
convicted of a drug crime, no food stamps or 
education money will be available. She also said 
people should work to have the three-strikes 
law overturned.

Actions we can undertake include educating 
ourselves about the prison system and the death 
penalty as well as alternatives to them; working 
with young people and former inmates; 
evaluating our attitudes toward crime, 
punishment, our children, and our inmate 
population; and working to abolish the death 



As I write this, I've just finished up the Netroots 
Nation Conference in Minneapolis.  Tomorrow 
morning, our dear friend and master of the 
reading world, Martha TerMaat, is driving from 
Wisconsin to show me the town, or at least 
down the street, over the bridge, and to an arts 
fair.  What a joy!

In the small world department, I was surprised 
to see James Clark at the NN Conference. He 
was hawking death penalty abolition for the 
ACLU in coalition with a number of other 
groups.  As you know, James is the coordinator 
for the Los Angeles Coalition for Alternatives to 
the Death Penalty.  During his outstanding 
speech today, Van Jones gave a succinct 
definition for coalitions: a fast track to therapy.  
Even with that in mind, I am still happy 
Amnesty supported the LACADP at the Faith 
Rising event (see column in this issue).  A couple 
of actions we can take are to end death 
sentencing in LA county  
and the Cut the Death Penalty from California's 
Budget campaign
 If anyone else would like to get involved in this 
coalition, let Lucas or me know.

Shawn Hawkins

On a happy note, Governor John Kasich 
commuted Shawn Hawkins' death sentence to 
life without possibility of parole, and while life 
without parole will be harsh, he will still be alive 
if in the future he's found to be innocent.  
Governor Kasich's decision was influenced by 
his inability to be 100% sure of Mr. Hawkins guilt.
You can contact Governor Kasich to thank him 
by going to

Troy Davis

Just in case you haven't recently spoken out 
regarding Troy Davis's impending execution,  
go to

Reggie Clemons

At the Amnesty Annual General Meeting this 
past March, we had the opportunity to hear 
Reggie Clemons mother and nephew discuss 
Mr. Clemons' case.  Amnesty continues to 
advocate to have his sentence commuted.  To 
take action, go to

Peculiar Institution: America's Death 
Penalty in an Age of Abolition

To see an interesting discussion about 
the death penalty go to  and of 
course, feel free to share it with others!

Execution Drugs

As I looked at our recent executions, I noticed 
the last eleven of them were carried out using 
pentobarbital.  In two cases, it was the only drug 
used and in the other nine, it was used in a 
three-drug 'cocktail'.  The shortage of sodium 
thiopental no longer will stop the State murder 

Stays of Execution

Shawn Hawkins		Ohio
John Balentine		Texas
Ricky Gray		Virginia
Frank Williams, Jr.	Arkansas


May 2011
19	Jason Williams		42 
	Alabama		Lethal Injection
25	Donald Beaty		56 
	Arizona		Lethal Injection

June 2011
1	Gayland Bradford	42 
	Texas		Lethal Injection
16	Lee Taylor		32 
	Texas		Lethal Injection
16	Eddie Powell III	41 
	Alabama		Lethal Injection



Kathy, Robert, Stevi and I attended this event, 
which was held from 10am to 3pm in the ACLU 
headquarters in downtown LA (same venue 
where the DP coalition meets).  The name stands 
for "Organizing Cities: LA" and represents a 
concept that is still evolving inside AIUSA.  
Currently, it is an opportunity for all the AI 
groups in the greater LA area to send 
representatives to meet, discuss recent events, 
and make plans for the future.  If I recall 
correctly, the following groups were 
represented:  four Local Groups (Pasadena, 
South Bay, Long Beach, Sherman Oaks), two 
Student Groups (UCLA, Roosevelt High School) 
and YPAI (= Young Professionals with AI);  
there were about 20-25 people present (some 
came late or left early).  You can see photos of 
the event on the Amnesty West Facebook page.  

The first third of the meeting was taken up by a 
"Plusses and Deltas" exercise, in which we 
broke up into our respective groups and each 
selected one or more significant events of the 
past year and wrote down the main positive 
aspects and the things that could be improved 
on a large poster, after which these were 
presented to the whole assembly.  Then we 
broke for lunch, after which there was a long 
discussion of recent developments in AI, 
focusing mostly on the issue of supporting ESC 
(economic/social/cultural) rights vs. the 
traditional defense of individuals under 
oppression.  There were two more interactive 
rounds, in which each person in turn had to 
respond based on his/her personal experience.  
The first was about fundraising, and each 
person had to say what the best and worst 
experiences were in this connection.  The second 
was about recruitment/retention of members, 
and each person had to answer three questions:  
what first drew you into AI; why are you still 
here; and why did you leave some other 
organization for AI?  Both of these sessions 
yielded some interesting comments and 

At the end, we were meant to discuss plans for 
the Western Regional Conference that will be 
held in LA on 4-6 Nov, but this was pretty short 
as we ran out of time.  The venue for this 
conference will probably be the Sheraton Hotel 
at LAX and it will feature a "human rights 
summit" in which other organizations will also 
participate.  There was also some discussion of a 
large multi-group fundraiser around Dec.10, 
probably to be held at Roosevelt High School.  
All in all this was another productive and 
interesting experience, very ably led by our 
Southern California Field Organizer, Kala 


DP                 6
Other UAs         18
LGBT               4
POC                8
Total             36

To add your letters to the total contact

The Caltech Y
Mail Code 5-62
Pasadena, CA 91125