Thursday, April 14, 2011

GOTB Celebrates Sweet 16! Part 2

After the morning speaker's panel, we broke for lunch and then reconvened outside of the Chad Mission to the United Nations to call on the Chadian government to protect Darfur refugees and IDPs living within their borders. The energy that students brought to the demonstrations was striking.

Photo: Scott Langley Photography.
From there, we moved to the Sri Lankan Mission to the UN to call for independent investigation of war crimes committed by both sides during the Sri Lankan Civil War. A number of passers-by seemed intrigued by the goings-on, and our student activists handed out flyers and information.

Photo: Kelly Turley.
Our Filep Karma action was an interesting one, as Dag Hammarskjold Plaza is apparently a popular demonstration spot on a Friday afternoon.


New York -- three separate rallies, for three separate causes, came together at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza on Friday afternoon. 
Dozens of supporters showed up at 3pm for the Yemen/Libya rally, to show solidarity with the uprisings in those countries. An hour later, more than a hundred high school and college students marched in, part of Amnesty International's "Get on the Bus For Human Rights" program, supporting Filep Karma, a prisoner of conscience in Indonesia. These younger protesters had been bussed in from New England. 
Mixed in with the crowd, were 4 protesters who comprised a 'flash mob', rallying in support of the Goldstone Report, against Shimon Peres appearance at the UN. 
All three causes stood side by side, shared the space and the microphone and the media attention. There must be something in the air this spring.
The day concluded at the Chinese Mission to the UN, and through the rain, our demonstrators kept up their tireless energy, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen.

This was my first Get On The Bus, I've been looking forward to the event since November when I started working with Group 133. And although I woke up terribly sick on Saturday morning, I can say now (after a few days of antibiotics), that the experience was well worth all the work and even the maladies. The coordination team is an amazing group of people, taking time out of busy personal lives to pull this event together. The students and participants are equally inspiring with their creativity and energy during the event. And of course, the expert speakers and the success stories make the event well worth all the work.

Thanks to everyone who worked and participated to make Get On The Bus's Sweet Sixteen a smashing success!

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