Canada; US; elsewhere: Google it.)
Every year, on December 10 - International Human Rights Day, which celebrates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - tens of thousands of people all over the world shine a light into darkness. By writing letters, we tell governments that someone is watching. We tell political prisoners - people in jail for opposing dictatorships, for fighting for clean water for their communities, for standing up for women and girls - that they have not been forgotten.
It's really simple to do. Amnesty gives you "case sheets" with background stories and instructions, plus tips on letter-writing. And you write a letter. Or maybe more than one letter.
To make it more fun, you can invite a few friends, print out some case sheets, open a bottle of wine, and write letters together. Or to make it easier, you can write letters on your own. Either way, it's easy and not very time-consuming. And it makes a tremendous difference to people who are enduring real suffering.
After participating in Write for Rights for a few years, I decided to take the next step and join Amnesty's Urgent Action Network. This, too, is not a huge time commitment and not difficult to do. There are no meetings to attend and no fundraising involved. Just you and your keyboard or pen.
The greatest thing about doing activism for Amnesty is knowing that their methods work. Amnesty campaigns have helped win release for political prisoners all over the world. Their observers have helped expose injustice and begun the process of change. And time and again, when activists are finally released from prison, they say, "Without your letters, I couldn't have made it through," or "Knowing I was not forgotten helped me survive". That's a big incentive right there.
If you've never participated before, how about it? This December 10: one letter. Take the pledge.