Activism Guide – Spring 2020

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.
Important Calendar Dates
  • May 27: Membership call on RightsNow! campaign
  • June: LGBTQ Pride Action
  • June 6: National Gun Violence Awareness Day (Wear Orange Day)
  • June 20: World Refugee Day
  • June TBD: In-district lobby actions

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


demand human rights in the covid-19 response

COVID-19 is a human rights crisis on an unprecedented scale. It’s affecting everyone, but some are hit much harder than others. Amnesty’s new RightsNow! Campaign is not just about surviving this pandemic. We must create a new future where all of us can live in dignity and thrive. Demand President Trump and Congress put human rights at the center of the COVID-19 response and recovery.

There are many actions your group can take to demand human rights be at the center of the COVID-19 response. Visit the RightsNow! campaign to see all of the actions and share with your networks. Join an upcoming virtual event specific to these human rights issues, and get ready for Wear Orange Day actions in early June.



Millions of people are already suffering from the catastrophic effects of extreme disasters exacerbated by climate change – from prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa to devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. During the summer months for the northern hemisphere in 2018, communities from the Arctic Circle to Greece, Japan, Pakistan and the USA experienced devastating heat waves and wildfires that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people.

While we largely understand climate change through the impacts it will have on our natural world, it is the devastation that it is causing and will continue to cause for humanity that makes it an urgent human rights issue. It will compound and magnify existing inequalities. And its effects will continue to grow and worsen over time, creating ruin for current and future generations. This is why the failure of governments to act on climate change in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence may well be the biggest inter-generational human rights violation in history.

Amnesty is calling for governments to:

  • Do everything they can to help stop the global temperature rising by more than 1.5°C.
  • Reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 at the latest. Richer countries should do this faster. By 2030, global emissions must be half as much as they were in 2010.
  • Stop using fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) as quickly as possible.
  • Make sure that climate action is done in a way that does not violate anyone’s human rights, and reduces rather than increases inequality
  • Make sure everyone, in particularly those affected by climate change or the transition to a fossil-free economy, is properly informed about what is happening and is able to participate in decisions about their futures.
  • Work together to fairly share the burden of climate change – richer countries must help others.
What you can do

We encourage you to stay safe at home and join the climate strike online every Friday:

  1.  Make a climate strike sign
    • Take a photo of yourself holding the sign
    • Post to your favorite social media channels with the hashtags #ClimateStrikeOnline and #DigitalStrike.
  2. Tag @RealDonaldTrump so he sees that you demand climate action. Please also tag Amnesty USA at @amnestyusa so that we can see your posts.
Resources available

Climate Crisis landing page


The charged atmosphere of a presidential election brings with it unique challenges and opportunities for human rights organizations like Amnesty International. The office of the President of the United States has the capacity for enormous human rights impact, both positive and negative. Amnesty International does not take a position on which candidate should be the next President, but we do believe that the next U.S. President must protect and advance human rights here at home and around the world.

Amnesty International believes that human rights are not a “Democratic thing” or a “Republican thing.” They are universal and binding obligations that we expect any administration to prioritize in its foreign and domestic policy. Over the next 16 months, Amnesty activists can raise the profile of human rights in public discourse, while keeping out of the partisan politics of election campaigns.

The 2020 Elections Toolkit will provide:

  • Clear guidelines on what Amnesty representatives (including AIUSA local and student groups) can and cannot do in relation to the 2020 elections.
  • Resource materials
  • Action ideas for raising human rights during this election season

Peaceful protest is a HUMAN RIGHT. Help now