The streets of New York City echoed with a roar for the freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma with Amnesty International’s Get on the Bus event on Friday, April 16th 2010. This annual day of action and education is the largest grassroots self-organized event that Amnesty International USA has all around the country. Spearheaded by Amnesty International's Group 133, based out of Somerville, Massachusetts, approximately 1000 student activists gathered from around the USA to call for human rights in Burma, Sri Lanka, Iran, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tibet.
click on images for a larger view
The event began at Cooper Union where venerable U Pyinya Zawta and U Gawsita from the All Burma Monks’ Alliance educated a full house in The Great Hall about the horrific realities that that exist in Burma. They both emphasized the imperative roll that the international community plays in helping their country, especially students. A protest of this magnitude sends a tremendous message to the people of Burma. It encourages everyone that they are not alone in their fight for freedom.
Following the brave monks, who helped lead the Saffron Revolution, I felt honored to express my concerns about Burma through my poem, Amnesty. Written for Amnesty International’s Get on the Bus, the poem is a call for action to help the people of Burma.
Later in the afternoon, Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the United Nations was illuminated by images of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and sweet sounds of students cheering for justice. Amnesty International mobilized, educated and lead this community of students and now we can only hope that their cries for human rights in Burma will be heard. The movement for a democratic Burma started with students and as my late teacher U Han Lin once taught me, students will lead Burma towards freedom.
Together in strength, in song, Marching for the right to be free, Brothers and sisters working for a peaceful world, Clap your hands for Amnesty...
By Jeffrey Karl Hellman who is a spokesperson for the International Campaign for Freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma and is currently co-producing/co-directing a feature length documentary about Burmese Freedom Fighter, U Han Lin, and the struggles of his homeland.
E-mail (required, but will not display)
Notify me of follow-up comments