Amnesty’s different approaches

Going the meetings of the Amnesty International’s chapter at UT allows me to see the organization’s different efforts at outreach. On an international level, Amnesty promotes awareness though hard-hitting, truth-telling campaigns. They speak the truth while utilizing dramatic effect to hit home with their audience. It should be noted that when I say “dramatic effect” I do not mean dramatization. Dramatization implies bending the truth, but Amnesty relies on the dramatic impact of the truth to get their message across. This is why the majority of their campaign ads have a single sentence along with a bigger photo or illustration. However, the UT chapter places significantly less importance on the aspect of dramatic effect. They place just as much importance on the truth but without the punch of a gripping statement. The UT division blandly states facts. For example, the UT chapter began selling jelly wristbands, and all proceeds will go to Chelsea Manning’s gofundme page. While this is a great way to raise money, it is not effective in spreading awareness about Manning. The wristbands are rainbow and say “PRIDE,” so they do not even directly acknowledge the cause, and the purchaser will not know where the money is going unless they ask an Amnesty member. One could argue that more money would be donated through this approach since Manning is so controversial, but the point of spreading awareness and increasing public support still stands. However, Amnesty launched an international campaign using Chelsea’s mugshot and police illustration advocating for her release with the statement “jailed after exposing possible human rights abuses” next to her face. This campaign was so effective that it helped spread enough awareness to pressure Obama into commuting her sentence.  I believe the UT chapter of Amnesty’s approach is part of the reason for the apathy surrounding it that I discussed in a previous entry.

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