Activism Guide – Spring 2021

Amnesty International is built on the idea that people coming together against injustice can be a game-changer! The sum of each of our actions creates a powerful force that has proven to be effective in igniting positive social change. Use this guide to take action this year, and check back frequently for updates and new actions!

  1. Share this guide with your group to become familiar with AIUSA’s key campaigns and programs, which all groups are asked to work on.
  2. Use the Key Activism Dates and Take Action sections for each human rights issue to help you build your action calendar.
  3. Let us know what you’re working on! We’ll make sure you have resources for each area and update you when new information or tools are available. If you need support in getting started with virtual activism, let us know.
  4. Get creative! The Activism Guide provides you with the basics, but we hope you’ll use it to put your stamp on our work. Let us know your plans and if you need any ideas or support.

View Tools for Virtual Amnesty Groups to support your activism during COVID-19.

Important Calendar Dates
  • January 31: Write for Rights ends – don’t forget to report your letters!
  • January 11: 19th Anniversary of the Opening of Guantanamo
  • February: Black History Month
  • February 9: Youth & Student Skill Building Session
  • March 8: International Women’s Day
  • March 12-14: AIUSA Annual General Meeting & human rights conference
  • March 31: Transgender Day of Visibility
  • April 3-11: National Week of Student Action

Check out the AIUSA Events Calendar for opportunities in the coming months.


FREE PEOPLE FROM ICE DETENTION: No ONe should be locked up in danger

Immigrants and asylum-seekers detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been left behind during this pandemic. Detention facilities, well-documented to have negligent medical care, inadequate basic hygiene, and overcrowding, have become tinderboxes for COVID-19, and Black and brown people who make up the majority of detained people have faced a long history of abuse and discrimination in detention. They are now at heightened risk of contracting and becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. As the toll of the pandemic and systematic immigration detention continue to disproportionately impact Black and brown communities, the US government must release people from detention immediately. Our collective voices and activism over the past several years have helped stop individuals and families from being deported back to danger and helped get dozens of folks released from detention, and we’re not stopping there: we now call on President Biden and his administration to protect those in his care – to free people, including all families, from ICE detention in his first 100 days.

What you can do
  1. Call on ICE to halt the deportation of families in detention and to release all children with their parents together: take action by email, phone, or mail, and spread the word by penning an op-ed in your local paper – reach out to [email protected] if you would like to pursue this media tactic.
  2. Pastor Steven has officially spent over two years in a Texas detention facility where inadequate medical care for his diabetes left him with worsened health and where there have already been multiple outbreaks of COVID-19. Demand ICE to free him so he can pursue his claim for asylum without facing the daily dangers of being locked up with a compromised immune system: reach out to the ICE officials in charge through email and letters, to your members of Congress, and to your community through local op-eds – reach out to [email protected] if interested in this media tactic.
  • Report Update: COVID-19 in US Immigration Detention
  • Report Briefing: Family Separation 2.0: “You aren’t going to separate me from my only child.”
  • Report: “We are adrift, about to sink”: The looming COVID-19 Disaster in United States Immigration Detention Facilities”
  • Solidarity Guide: Pastor Steven

End Gun Violence: Congress Must Fund Community-Based Gun Violence Prevention Organizations

COVID-19 is exacerbating the homegrown public health crisis that is gun violence in the U.S. Communities that already feel the impact of gun violence the most are being affected disproportionately by the pandemic, and the organizations designed to stop gun violence before it happens are critically endangered at a time when they are needed the most. The U.S. has a duty to take positive action to address gun violence, especially where models exist that could reduce it while making a long term and life-changing impact on systematically disenfranchised communities. 

Amnesty International is urging the 117th Congress to introduce and pass legislation which supports the funding and implementation of evidence-based violence prevention and intervention programs, including the Break the Cycle of Violence Act. Community-based solutions are proven to decrease gun homicides at rates higher than even the best legislative efforts. These programs offer life-changing opportunities and facilitate collaboration among communities of color, hospitals, police and other public institutions.

What you can do

As of January 9, 2021, 16 people have been killed and 83 injured by gun violence. We must have a congress that will act now: call on your Representative and two Senators in Congress to introduce and pass the Break the Cycle of Violence Act. Take action by email, phone, and tweet.


PErmanently end the United states’ global abortion ban

The “Global Gag” rule cuts off U.S. foreign assistance to global organizations, clinics, and hospitals because of their policies or practices on abortion. While no U.S. money ever goes to abortion or abortion services because of previous U.S. law, the Global Gag rule means that organizations that receive U.S. International aid for other reasons — like maternal health, HIV prevention, or fighting disease — can’t so much as educate their communities on safe abortion, no matter what the laws of that country are, or they will lose funding. This policy is deadly and violates the basic rights of millions of people globally to health, information, free speech, and even life. President-elect Biden has vowed to rescind this policy for his presidency, but we must permanently end the Global Gag Rule so that no president can reintroduce it. Support the Global Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act, which would permanently end the Global Gag Rule and encourage your elected representative to co-sponsor the Global HER Act.

What you can do
  1. Visit to learn more and to be automatically connected to your representative via phone.
  2. Plan a virtual lobby day visit your Senator/Representative to ask them to support the Global HER Act. Email [email protected] for more information.