Amnesty International Brings Hundreds of Activists to Miami, Plans March This Afternoon

Miami is no stranger to human rights violations. Undocumented workers who have lived here for more than 20 years are being deported, our governor just defunded Planned Parenthood, and locals are being displaced by rapid overdevelopment. There's a lot of work to be done in Dade.

So it's good timing that for the first time, Amnesty International's Annual General Meeting, a three-day conference engaging in human rights actions, workshops, and networking, will be held in the Magic City. Organizers say the event will bring more than 1,000 activists from around the world together — and to kick things off, they're planning a march today in Doral.

"We wanted to create and do something that would raise the visibility of the lived experience of the people in Miami," says Taliba Obuya, Amnesty International South organizer. "

Amnesty's theme this year is "Change Our World," and the organization says the three days of panels and discussions at Doral's DoubleTree by Hilton Miami Airport & Convention Center will emphasize "a world where justice, freedom, and dignity are recognized as central to the inalienable rights of all human beings." 

To kick things off, today at 2 p.m., local organizations Fanm Ayisyen nan Miyami (Haitian Women of Miami), Dream Defenders, and Power U Center for Social Change will rally and march with Amnesty International USA at the convention center in Doral.

Their goal: Call attention to the affects of gun violence, the refugee and migrant experience, police use of force, torture, and mass incarceration. 

"It’s about creating a space where we can hear the voices of the voiceless loud and clear, those who are oppressed, dehumanized, disenfranchised around the world, that their collective voices are heard wide and clear," says Marleine Bastien, executive director of Fanm. 
Bastien hopes the action brings particular visibility to the Dominican Republic immigrant crisis, in which black Dominicans have been arbitrarily deported. In 2015, Haitians, and descendants of Haitians, were denationalized in the Dominican Republic. 

"This is the greatest human rights abuse in the Western Hemisphere — black Dominicans now constitute the biggest group of stateless citizens, with 65,000 strong in the Western Hemisphere," Bastien says. "Black citizens have been singled out of the only nation they have only known because of the color of their skin. This is huge — this is beyond comprehension that in this modern day, this is even happening and the world is silent about it."

Bastien will participate in Building Bridges Towards the Restoration of Nationality in the Dominican Republic, the only panel addressing the crisis during the conference.  

The conversation will also feature Rosa Iris Diendomi Álvarez, a Dominican born to Haitian parents advocating for her nationality; Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, with a focus on Latin-American and the Caribbean; and Dan-el Padilla Peralta, a classicist at Columbia University and undocumented Dominican immigrant. 

"You have the power to create the world you want to live in," Obuya says. "It is our duty to do that."

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