Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘young women’

Free Pussy Riot

Dear Gabriel,

The Pussy Riot trial began in Moscow on Monday. Three young women charged with “hooliganism” now face up to seven years’ imprisonment. Why? Because their punk rock band gave a politically charged and impromptu performance poking fun at President Putin at a cathedral.

But don’t judge these women too harshly. At least that’s what Putin said himself in a stunning statement Thursday: “There is nothing good in what they did [but] I don’t think they should be judged too severely.”

However, Putin’s words have not yet translated into action. Seven years incarceration is still a very real possibility. Our sources inside Russia tell us that the trial may wrap up as early as next Wednesday, August 15, and some signs are pointing in the direction of sending the women off to a labor camp.

Say what you will about Pussy Riot: this may not be your kind of music. Some people find their shows offensive.

But it doesn’t change the facts: Since March, these young women have been in jail and kept from their families, including small children, and they are being threatened with seven years imprisonment – all because of a peaceful protest song that lasted less than a minute.

Tell the Russian authorities to drop all charges and release Pussy Riot immediately.

Amnesty International considers these women to be prisoners of conscience, and we are not going to give up on them. Sadly, members of Pussy Riot aren’t the only ones getting caught up in the backlash against dissidents in Russia lately. One of Putin’s fiercest critics, blogger Alexei Navalny, was charged this week with embezzlement, a crime that could carry up to a 10-year prison sentence.

The crackdown doesn’t stop there. In recent weeks, President Putin and his cronies have moved swiftly to limit street protests by enforcing hefty fines and re-criminalizing some forms of defamation.

Oppression thrives in silence. That is why we must loudly demand that Russian authorities free Pussy Riot now!

It is not hard to spot Pussy Riot supporters – bright tights, colorful dresses and faces covered by balaclavas. At our protests outside the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC, we’re using multi-colored ski masks – check out our pictures!

Some high-profile musicians are also taking action in solidarity. During recent concerts in Russia, rockers Sting, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Franz Ferdinand all called on the Russian authorities to free Pussy Riot and respect freedom of expression. Madonna, Peter Gabriel and Pete Townshend of The Who have voiced their support, too, while Björk has invited other members of Pussy Riot to join her on tour.

Now that even President Putin has flinched at the punishment Pussy Riot is facing, it won’t be long now before the court in Moscow faces the music that world leaders, celebrities and activists alike are already chanting with passion and pride:

Thank you for all you do to stand for justice,

Michelle A. Ringuette
Chief of Campaigns & Programs
Amnesty International USA

Help Girls Education

Dear Gabriel,

Girls should be able to go to school. It’s something we take for granted. But around the world, nearly 37 million girls are out of school.

I want you to meet Pinki, a graduate of the first accelerated learning class in the Uttar Pradesh region of India. Pinki missed going to school as a child, but thanks to CARE’s Udaan project, she had a second chance.

Udaan means “flight,” and CARE’s program provides girls like Pinki a chance to overcome societal barriers by helping them gain confidence and skills they can use to escape poverty for good. Today, Pinki is in college and has her own apartment — a rare achievement for young women from her town.

Pinki has a chance at a bright future thanks to generous donations from our supporters. Remember, there are millions of other poor people around the world who are counting on you to support CARE’s life-changing work, such as programs that help girls and women get an education.

Please make a special gift right now to help empower poor women and girls to create a better world for all this year and beyond.

CARE’s innovative education programs help girls master basic skills, find their voices and prepare to become leaders in their communities.

And empowering young women like Pinki to succeed through education is just one way CARE fights poverty around the world. Your support also can:

Equip women with tools and resources that help them increase and save their earnings;

Help families access improved health care, including family planning services and gender-based violence counseling;

Connect pregnant and nursing mothers with the care they need to keep themselves and their children healthy; and
Deliver emergency aid to communities that experience disaster or war.

Please make a gift now to start empowering lives with CARE.

I trust you’ll join us in 2012 to defend dignity and fight poverty. Thank you for all that you do to champion new beginnings for young girls and women.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

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