Amnesty International BU Hosts Human Rights Discussion

This Saturday afternoon, BU’s chapter of Amnesty International held a panel discussion on human rights and immigration law under the Trump administration. The panelists, Hiam Altali the Founder of Justice for Detainees in Syria, Tahirah Dean, an immigration law attorney, Yoana Kuzmova, a BU immigration law Professor, Timothy Longman, Director of the Institute of Culture, Religion and World Affairs, Elena Noureddine, an immigration attorney, and Terry Rockefeller, the Amnesty International Board of Directors documentary film producer, all agreed that the US should be doing more in its efforts to aid countries in crisis.

They also discussed the inhumane ways the US treats immigrants and the power that ICE officers have over detainees. The panelists came to the consensus that it doesn’t seem like Human Rights is even on Trump’s radar and that he may be doing just the opposite of fighting for people’s rights.

For full coverage of the event check out my Twitter moment.

How do you think the Trump administration compares to past administrations in terms of their role in aiding refugees?

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Vox Breaks

…sometimes! In my time following Vox, the stories I’ve seen them publish give a lot of context. Remember their mission? It’s simple: explain the news. They don’t just write the latest news, they gather context and information about as many aspects related to the topic as possible. When you read their stories you know they’ve taken some time to do their research. However, short and fast breaking news is not something I’ve seen from them as often.

But today, as if God planted this news just because he knew I had this breaking news assignment, Vox posted a breaking news story about Donald Trump’s lawyer preemptively offering to pardon two former members of his administration who are under investigation: Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort.

And Vox identified this story as breaking news not just by typing “BREAKING” in the body of the post, but they added a cool breaking news button to the post widget. It even lists how many minutes it’s been since the story was last updated.

I haven’t seen many breaking news stories by Vox before. I waited a few hours before going back into the story and it looks like the actual story hasn’t been updated in two hours. Maybe no more information has been revealed but I hope Vox definitely follows up and updates the story.

I love that Vox focuses on gathering context and research for their stories but they could definitely step up their breaking news game and then add context to the stories later!

No need to fear, the corporations are here

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Gays Against Guns members demand Wyndham, FedEx, and Hertz cut ties with the NRA at the New Yorker Hotel in Midtown Manhattan in 2016. LightRocket/Getty Images

In the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL that claimed 17 lives on Valentine’s Day, Americans are done with taking no for an answer. Hashtags like #NeverAgain and #BoycottNRA quickly trended as hundreds of thousands of people called for congress to create substantial gun control legislation and no longer cater to the interests of the National Rifle Association of America.

Vox wrote a story about citizens have begun turning away from congress and turning toward businesses and corporations with their activism, and it seems to be working.

The public demanded that Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart stop selling firearms and for Wyndham, FedEx, and Hertz to cut ties with the NRA. The protesters are realizing their buying power as consumers.

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Dick’s Sporting Goods said it would stop selling firearms to anyone under the age of 21 after the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Scott Olson/Getty Images

I really like this story because it discusses the issue from a different angle. Many stories have been posted about how Americans want congress to act, but this is the first story I’ve seen about the other avenues protestors have started to target.

The story is easy to follow with its subheadings and it delves into interesting areas of discussion (i.e. some history of how companies used to be afraid to weigh in on most political things, statistics about Americans’ faith in institutions and corporations, etc.) The writer goes beyond just a simple explanation of all the brands who have changed their policies in response to public outcry, but also explains the history of companies doing this and whether Trump’s presidency has caused an increase in this.

At the end of the day, the mission of a business is to make money so how far will they go with their actions? And will their participation influence congress to act?