ACTION ALERT: June is Torture Awareness Mont
June 1, 2009
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The fight to end US-sponsored torture is not over. At noon on June 11, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture will sponsor a major religious public event in front of the White House asking President Obama to create a Commission of Inquiry. A broad community of religious organizations have made Torture Awareness Month resources available online. See below.
June is Torture Awareness Month. We hope you will commemorate this important occasion for survivors and victims of torture in your community. Here are some programs and events that you can hold or attend in honor of Torture Awareness Month:
• June 26th is United Nation's International Day of Support for Survivors and Victims of Torture. We hope you will choose to speak about torture that night in your congregations. RHR-NA will send out sermon talking points early in June.
• At noon on June 11, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture will sponsor a major religious public event in front of the White House asking President Obama to create a Commission of Inquiry. The President's decision to block the release of new photos of detainee abuse makes it imperative that the religious community speak out powerfully to the need for a full accounting of US-sponsored torture since 9/11.
We are hoping to get as many rabbis and committed human rights activists to this event as possible. RHR-NA will be represented at the event: please let us know if you plan to attend. It is critical to make visible - to the White House and the nation - the religious community's support for a full accounting of American torture policy since 9/11. Complete details.
• Ending Torture Forever
One exciting new resource available for your community is NRCAT's new video and study guide, "Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever." This 18-minute long DVD features interviews with people of faith, religious leaders, a victim of torture, and a former US interrogator. We hope you will show it in your community during Torture Awareness Month or at any point during 2009. Click here to order the DVD from NRCAT.
• Torture Awareness Month resources are available from RHR-NA, including prayers, study material, and Stop Torture banners.
The fight to end U.S.-sponsored torture is not over. We hope you will continue to raise this critical issue in your community.
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster
Director of Education and Outreach
NRCAT’s Torture Awareness Month Activities – June 2009
June 26th is United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. A few years ago, religious and human rights organizations in the United States declared the month of June to be Torture Awareness Month as a way to provide greater visibility to this issue and provide an opportunity for coordinated actions across the country.
Please make plans NOW to join NRCAT in marking Torture Awareness Month by taking AT LEAST ONE of these actions in June. And please use this quick survey to tell us about your plans.
1. Now Available! Organize an educational event for your congregation, using NRCAT’s new 18-minute DVD and discussion guide: “Ending U.S.-sponsored Torture Forever." You can view the trailer here . To view the 18-minute video, click here . You can order a copy for your congregation here.
2. Plan to join us in Washington, DC on June 11 for a Religious Public Witness in front of the White House. Click here for more information.
3. Incorporate a prayer or sermon about torture in a worship service during June. You can access a variety of worship resources, including an interfaith prayer and sample sermons here.
4. Make your opposition to torture visible with NRCAT’s new banners and bumper stickers. Order today from NRCAT’s Online Store. If your congregation already has an anti-torture banner, please display it during June.
5. Organize a delegation to visit the local district office of your Member(s) of Congress to advocate for a Commission of Inquiry and legislation making elements of the President’s executive order permanent in law. Members of Congress will most likely be in their home districts during the July 4th recess (June 29 to July 3).
More Ideas and Resources for Action:
Worship Resources (June 1 -14)
• Encourage your congregation’s leaders to incorporate a sermon, homily, responsive reading, prayer or some other form of liturgy within a worship service. An interfaith prayer and other worship materials are available from NRCAT. Petitions/letter-writing resources could be available after the service.
Study Resources (June 1 - 14)
• Encourage your congregation to organize an educational event (internal to the congregation or as a public gathering) using the new NRCAT adult study resource Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever that includes an 18-minute DVD and discussion guide.
≤b>• Click here to see the trailer.
• Other videos are also available: Primetime Torture or Taxi to the Dark Side.
• Participate in NRCAT’s Religious Public Witness in front of the White House on June 11. Click here for more information. If you can’t come to DC, consider organizing a local religious witness on that date.
• Consider organizing a public event (e.g., a speaker or a screening of Taxi to the Dark Side) or public witness (e.g., a candlelight vigil or solemn procession with banners) to mark the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on Friday, June 26.
• Encourage your congregation to organize a delegation(s) to visit the local office(s) of your member(s) of Congress and advocate for a Commission of Inquiry and specific legislation. Interfaith delegations that include clergy are particularly effective. Members of Congress will likely be in their home districts for the July 4th recess, beginning Monday, June 29. More information will be on this page.
Community Outreach - Banners, Stickers, etc.
• If your congregation has an anti-torture banner, encourage your congregation’s leaders to display it in June.
• Encourage your congregation to purchase a new banner with a message focused on “Investigate. Legislate.”
• Actively promote NRCAT’s new bumper stickers and NRCAT’s poster showing banners displayed by congregations in June 2008.
• Seek media coverage for your efforts, especially a public event or public witness on June 26 or a visit to your local congressional office. A sample media advisory will be available on this page.
* Seek a visit to the editorial board of your local newspaper to urge them to editorialize on NRCAT’s Agenda for 2009. Click here for guidelines for such visits, based on our successful project in 2008.
Other June Events of Note
For the past 12 years, the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC) has played a crucial role in organizing survivors and their friends to publicly oppose torture everywhere in the world. This year TASSC will again sponsor June Survivors Week, which commemorates the UN International Day in Support of Survivors and Victims of Torture, and issues a call to abolish torture once and for all.
We are writing you to encourage you to send letters of support to survivors who will be gathered in front of the White House on June 27. Send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org, and a representative of NRCAT will share them with survivors on that day.
To learn more about TASSC, visit www.tassc.org.