Group addresses civil rights concerns

Would anyone notice if you went missing?The TCU chapter of Amnesty International held a weeklong event starting Sept. 4 to raise awareness for people who are imprisoned for their beliefs.

Dani Folks, vice president of Amnesty International, said the term coined for these prisoners are “prisoners of conscience.”

“Amnesty International is the biggest civil rights organization in the world,” Folks said.

Amy Gardner, the organization’s secretary and treasurer, said people’s rights are being abused every day.

“It deals with repressive governments and how a lot of people will be taken to jail because they’re speaking out,” said Gardner, a junior modern dance major.

This is the organization’s first big event this year and their goal was to get TCU faculty and students involved, Folks said.

Freshman biology major Maggie King, who volunteered at the event, said they spread awareness by passing out T-shirts throughout the week. King said people were picked in advance and given the black T-shirts marked with a red “X” and the question, “Would anyone notice if you went missing?”

“It was a quiet thing,” King said. “The people who wore the shirts played big roles in raising awareness.”

The people who were picked have big roles in the TCU community, King said, like Frog Camp facilitators, some faculty and other student leaders.

Amnesty International President Alexis Branaman, sophomore international communications major, said they chose about 10 people who were approachable and would not be scared to talk about their T-shirts.

Cecile Van de Voorde, the Amnesty International adviser, said, “It’s not only in other countries; it’s here in the United States too. Don’t be blind to this.”

After a week of handing out the T-shirts, Amnesty International held an ending party on Sadler Lawn Thursday at 6 p.m.

The event provided free food and live music featuring Texas Renegades, a band based in San Marcos.

Van de Voorde said she hopes that this awareness will go beyond today.

“Everyone is so sheltered,” Van de Voorde said. “It’s good for them to look out of their bubble.