When I moved to Toronto two years ago, I knew that I wanted to continue volunteering but I wasn’t sure where the best fit for me would be. The majority of my work and volunteer experiences have been rooted in social enterprise and working with individuals to reduce vulnerabilities associated with poverty and gender-based violence. Up until this point, I had focused my efforts primarily on working directly with individuals in my community. After hearing one of my classmates speak about Amnesty International by raising awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada, I was interested in learning more about the organization and advocacy work overall.
In March 2019, I joined the National Organizers Program of Amnesty International Canada where I have been able to connect and collaborate with inspiring members from across the country. Since joining the program, I have focused my efforts on bridging awareness and advocacy to student groups and organizations. During my undergraduate degree in business, human rights was a topic that was never heavily mentioned in any courses that I took. Now in social work, I have been able to observe the integration of human rights and advocacy at a much deeper level. Through my work with Amnesty International, I wish to encourage participation and awareness of advocacy and human rights action by working with students that may not receive exposure through their academics or extracurriculars.
By working with Enactus York – a student-run entrepreneurial organization that seeks to create projects around social issues – I have been able to create a platform for discussions and actions on human rights to take place in an organization that is composed primarily of business students. In November 2019, the group engaged in a Write for Rights event where they were able to write letters advocating for cases involving youth. This was an exceptionally impactful moment for me as it brought a team of students together to truly use their voices for human rights defending.
In addition to being involved with the National Organizers Program, I work with Amnesty International’s Action Network on Women’s Human Rights. This group focuses on issues that impact women both locally and globally that are rooted in gender inequality. My work with this group has further inspired my future goals of continuing to work in the area of gender-based discrimination and violence through a career in law and social work.
Although it has only been one year, I have learned a great deal from being involved with Amnesty International. I look forward to continuing to grow and learn from others while working towards promoting advocacy and human rights activism.