Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXI Number 4, April 2013


UPCOMING EVENTS

Thursday, April 25, 7:30 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. We meet at the Caltech Y, Tyson 
House, 505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. (This is 
just south of the corner with San Pasqual. 
Signs will be posted.) We will be planning our 
activities for the coming months. Please join 
us! Refreshments provided.

Tuesday, May 14, 7:30 PM.  Letter writing 
meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of Hill 
and California in Pasadena. This informal 
gathering is a great way for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty!   

Sunday, May 19, 6:30 PM.  Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion group. This 
month we read "Rez Life" by David Treuer.


COORDINATOR'S CORNER

[We'll look forward to Kathy's column in the next 
newsletter. Unfortunately she did not have time to 
write this month.]

Group 22 will be marching in the Doo Dah 
Parade this Saturday, April 27. The parade 
starts at 11 am in East Pasadena and goes along 
Colorado Boulevard between Altadena Drive 
and San Gabriel Blvd. 
http://pasadenadoodahparade.info/

We're dusting off the giant letters we used in the 
2005 Doo Dah, "Letters to the Rescue / Write 
for Human Rights."

This year members of the Amnesty student 
group from Occidental College will be marching 
along with Group 22. Come watch us in the 
parade! Look for new parade photos on Group 
22's website and facebook page. 


RIGHTS READERS
Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at 
http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com

Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, May 19,  
6:30 pm 

Rez Life by David Treuer

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado, Pasadena

BOOK REVIEW

"Novelist Treuer (Little) offers an ambitious, 
impressionistic study of life on Native American 
reservations. His blending in of the history of his 
Ojibwe tribe and his own family results in a 
nuanced view of personal and tribal identity. It's 
neither definitive nor a work of full personal 
disclosure, but it is 'the story of the 
paradoxically least and most American place in 
the twenty-first century. Welcome to the Rez.' 
Whether he's describing the central role of fishing 
walleye, the region's signature fish; the Ojibwe's 
treaty right fights; or the timeless method for 
harvesting wild rice, Treuer paints a picture of a 
vital if economically strained tribal life, deftly 
supplying historical context to explain how the 
Mille Lacs, Red Lake, and White Earth 
reservations came to be and survive. If the 
stand-alone chapters don't always flow 
smoothly into one another, the vignettes  of 
treaty rights fishing activists; of how casinos 
have changed economic life on the rez; how his 
mother, a tribal judge, dispensed justice; how an 
Ojibwe language teacher ensured the viability of 
the tribal language for another generation; and 
most powerfully, how Treuer's grandfather's 
suicide left the family reeling  bring the world 
and personalities of the rez to vivid, 
heartrending life." 
Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All 
rights reserved.

AUTHOR BIO (http://www.davidtreuer.com)
David Treuer is an Ojibwe Indian from Leech 
Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He is 
the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the 1996 
Minnesota Book Award, and fellowships from 
the NEH, Bush Foundation, and the Guggenheim 
Foundation. He divides his time between his 
home on the Leech Lake Reservation and 
Minneapolis. He is the author of three novels 
and a book of criticism. His essays and stories 
have appeared in Esquire, TriQuarterly, The 
Washington Post, the LA Times, and Slate.com.
The son of Robert Treuer, an Austrian Jew and 
holocaust survivor and Margaret Seelye Treuer, 
a tribal court judge, David Treuer grew up on 
Leech Lake Reservation. After graduating from 
high school he attended Princeton University 
where he wrote two senior theses--one in 
anthropology and one in creative writing--and 
where he worked with Toni Morrison, Paul 
Muldoon, and Joanna Scott. Treuer graduated in 
1992 and published his first novel, Little, in 
1995. He received his PhD in anthropology and 
published his second novel, The Hiawatha, in 
1999. His third novel The Translation of Dr 
Apelles and a book of criticism, Native American 
Fiction; A User's Manual appeared in 2006. The 
Translation of Dr Apelles was named a Best Book 
of the Year by the Washington Post, Time Out, 
and City Pages.


GROUP 22 AT THE PASADENA EARTH FESTIVAL
by Larry Romans

For Earth Day, our group participated in the 
Pasadena Earth & Arts Festival, one of our 
regular community events.  It was a great day at 
Pasadena Memorial Park, and we had the 
chance to reach out to a nice cross section of 
local progressively inclined characters.

As usual, we chose an action to highlight with 
an environmental angle: the case of Yolanda 
Oqueli, an activist defending the environmental 
rights of her community of San Jose del Golfo, 
Guatemala, threatened by the nearby El Tambor 
gold mine.
She has been the target of numerous death 
threats, as well as an assination attempt last 
June which nearly killed her.

We had two styles of petition concerning 
Yolanda for President Molina of Guatemala: a 
version on large sheets of paper for kids to 
decorate with crayons, markers and stamps, 
and a more standard version for adults.  It was 
nice to hear a number of parents take the 
opportunity to start a discussion about 
environmental and human rights with their 
children.

Thanks to Joyce for helping to prepare the 
material, and Paula, Larry, Laura, Ted, Lucas, 
Stevi and Nikos for tabling!

[And many thanks to Larry!
Special thanks also to Stevi for her photos of this 
event, which you can see on Group 22's Facebook 
Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amnesty-
International-Pasadena-Group-
22/159506047393747
Ignore the login request and just scroll down until 
you see the Pasadena Earth Day photo.  --Joyce] 


PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE Gao Zhisheng
by Joyce Wolf

Group 22's adopted prisoner of conscience Gao 
Zhisheng was one of the featured cases in the 
Amnesty Write-a-thon last December. I reported 
in a previous newsletter that Chinese authorities 
allowed family members a second prison visit 
with Gao on 12 January 2013, ten months after 
the first visit in March 2012, and I wondered 
whether the authorities were motivated by an 
avalanche of Amnesty letters. Look at these 
numbers from a recently released report and see 
what you think! 

From page 16 of Letter Writing Marathon 2012: 
Final report,
"While it is difficult to know exactly what led to 
the prison visit being granted, the huge amount 
of action generated by the Letter Writing 
Marathon may have contributed, and has 
definitely provided a great deal of support and 
solidarity with his family. A total of 167,748 
actions were taken in 54 countries around the 
world. "

Geng He, Gao Zhisheng's wife, sent the 
following message to AI when she learned the 
total number of actions for her husband: "Wow! 
... I found it unbelievable when I first saw the huge 
number; my friends helped me to take a look at this 
figure. After confirming the figure I have been 
immersed in this excitement. Thank you!"
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AC
T30/022/2013/en

On April 9, shortly before Secretary of State John 
Kerry visited China, a Congressional 
subcommittee held a hearing titled "Chen 
Guangchen and Gao Zhisheng: Human Rights 
in China." Following are excerpts from remarks 
that Rep. Christopher Smith (NJ) read into the 
Congressional Record: 

Mr. Speaker, I recently held a hearing in which we 
listened and learned from brave men and women 
from China who have been and are at the forefront of 
advocating for freedom and human rights and 
against the tyranny and oppression of the state. We 
sought advice and counsel as to what can--and must-
-be done by Congress, the President, and the 
American people, and all people of goodwill 
worldwide, to mitigate the hate and gross 
mistreatment meted out by the government of China 
against its own citizens. We appealed to Beijing--ease 
up, respect fundamental human rights and the 
sanctity of human life and honor your commitments 
and the rule of law.
Ms. Geng He appeared in order to remind us, and the 
world, of another brave extraordinary hero, her 
husband Gao Zhisheng. With great love and a broken 
heart, this remarkable woman has worked 
unceasingly to secure the freedom of her husband.
  To President Xi, we will not forget Gao 
Zhisheng. Not now, not ever. We appeal to you to 
release him.
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/LegislativeData.php?&n=Record

At this same hearing, AIUSA International 
Advocacy Director T. Kumar gave testimony 
regarding Gao Zhisheng and included this 
message from Geng He to Amnesty activists:

"Following a Letter Writing Marathon organized by 
Amnesty International at the end of last year and 
actions from the international community, the family 
of the Gao Zhisheng was granted a second prison 
visit on 12 January of this year. It is a small 
improvement, but it could not be achieved without 
the international community's concerns and the 
effort and support from the membership of Amnesty 
International, for which my family and I feel most 
grateful. I hope Amnesty International will continue 
to promote this activity, allowing more people to 
come to know my husband's situation, until he gains 
his freedom."

Group 22 member Wen Chen sent an article 
about a human rights lawyer who fared 
considerably better than Gao. Wang Quanzhang 
went to court to defend a Falun Gong 
practitioner, but ended up in detention himself. 
His 10-day detention was cut short, however, 
after lawyers and citizens protested outside the 
court and detention center. Let's hope this is a 
start to improving human rights in China!
 http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/10047-court-
releases-rights-lawyer-detained-for-defending-falun-gong

If you have not already sent birthday greetings 
to Gao Zhisheng (April 20 is his birthday), 
maybe you can send one of the beautiful cards 
printed especially for him by the daughter of 
Group 22 member Ido. (thank you, Alexa! thank 
you, Ido!) For our next letter-writing, we'll 
probably have an action (undoubtedly the first 
of many) to China's new president Xi Jinping.


DEATH PENALTY NEWS
By Stevi Carroll

Boston Marathon Bombings

The recent bombings at the Boston Marathon 
remind of us of the tenuous nature of life and 
security.  The trauma and loss experienced by 
the people maimed and by their family and 
friends will stay with them for their entire lives.  
The family and friends of those killed will 
mourn for years.  Because my daughter and son-
in-law are both long-distance runners, I an 
aware of sorrow, distrust and fear instilled by 
this bombing.  I add my condolences to all 
involved.

Death Penalty in California

California State Senator Joel Anderson has 
introduced SB 779 to streamline the carrying out 
of executions.  In addition to the bill, Senator 
Anderson's Senate Constitutional Amendment 
13 would give a way to speed up death penalty 
reviews by having appellate courts to hear the 
appeals rather than having them go directly to 
the state Supreme Court.  Another part of this 
process could be the rebirth of the gas chamber.

The SAFE California campaign has an online 
petition available at 
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/1265/p/dia/action
/public/?action_KEY=13215.

Bud Welsh 

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the 
Boston Marathon bombings, has been accused of 
use of a weapon of mass destruction among 
other charges.  He will be tried in civilian 
Federal court.  Because of this, he has the 
possibility of the death penalty.  This case has 
caused me to think about Bud Welsh's story.

Bud Welsh's 23-year-old daughter, Julie Marie, 
was killed in the Murrah Federal Building 
bombing in Oklahoma City on April 19,1995.  
For a while, death was what Bud wished for 
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.  Bud 
realized that hate and desire for revenge were 
what prompted McVeigh and Nichols to act, 
and he wanted to invest his grief and anger in a 
different direction. Seeing McVeigh's father on a 
news report, Bud was aware of the pain the man 
carried, a pain like the one he, too, carried.  Bud 
went on to meet Bill McVeigh.  Both men cried 
during this visit.

Recently, I saw an interview with Arn Chorn-
Pond, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge and a 
former child soldier.  He said it was when he 
began to cry that his healing could begin.  
Perhaps, that was true for Bud Welsh and Bill 
McVeigh as well.

I have always wondered what we could have 
learned about the alienation experienced by 
Timothy McVeigh that led him to commit such a 
heinous crime had he not been executed.

And now I wonder what we can learn from 
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Stays of Execution

March
21	Michael Gonzalez	Texas

April
23	Borgela Philistin	Pennsylvania
24	Elroy Chester		Texas
25	Michael Travaglia	Pennsylvania

Executions 

April
9	Ricky Lynn Lewis	Texas	
		1-drug Lethal Injection
10	Larry Mann		Florida	
		3-drug Lethal Injection
16	Ronnie Paul Threadgill	Texas	
		1-drug Lethal Injection


GROUP 22 MONTHLY LETTER COUNT
UAs                    12
POC                     6
Get-on-the-Bus Cards    6
Total                  24
To add your letters to the total contact  
lwkamp@gmail.com.


Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125
www.its.caltech.edu/~aigp22/
http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com