Katherine Yager

Katherine Yager

Passion for human rights, commitment and a great smile!

Katherine is a solid leader for the Toronto’s Action Network on Women’s Human Rights (ANWHR). With a welcoming demeanor and vision for the group, it’s easy to stand next to her and help execute our team’s mission. Her commitment to the cause is apparent, and her methods humble. I am pleased to work alongside her to raise awareness around issues that affect women and, inevitably, their communities. Congrats Katherine!

Cristina de Miranda

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AI ANWHR Member

I feel so honored to be able to say something here about Katherine. In my years of work with her, she has been a driving force for youth participation and empowerment. From her work with the Queen’s University Youth Group, to her participation on the Human Rights College Planning Committee, Katherine always brought passion, commitment, and her smile.

Shauna MacLean

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AI Canada Activism

In Katherine’s words:

“In 2008, I wanted be more involved at my university and I was told that the Amnesty student group had a great intro trivia night and I should go. I went and it was great! I realized that Amnesty was an organization doing amazing things and I wanted to be part of that.

I have become more and more involved in Amnesty and human rights work since then. The following summer I attended the Human Rights College and it was an incredible experience to be among so many like-minded people striving for change.

After moving back to Toronto, I knew I was going to stay involved in Amnesty but I wasn’t sure how. Then I found the Action Network for Women’s Human Rights and quickly realized that I wanted to be more involved in advocating for women’s basic rights. Through volunteering at Amnesty I have learned so much and met many amazing and inspiring people. Amnesty is a great community of people working for a common cause. I can’t imagine my life without being involved in Amnesty!”

THANK YOU, KATHERINE!

Beatrice Perusse

Beatrice Perusse

A young teen’s passion to make a real difference

While so many young teens devote their summers to Justin Bieber, iphones and Xboxes, there are a few whose passion is to make a real difference. In the spring of 2012, 13 year-old Beatrice Perusse attended her first Amnesty International meeting in her east Toronto neighbourhood. She expected to hear about Amnesty’s large-scale campaigns going on all over the world, but she had no idea she would realise the desperate need for justice for someone simply down the street. That night she met Antonella Mega who, with remarkable calm and candour, explained that her husband Canadian citizen Hamid Ghassemi-Shall had been wrongfully prosecuted and now sat on death row in an Iranian prison.

Beatrice knew she had to become part of her neighbour Hamid’s fight for freedom. She was inspired by over 6000 cards and letters from children and young people across Canada that had been sent in support of Hamid and Antonella. With the help of Antonella, dedicated Amnesty members led by Kara Dawson, filming “coach” and media producer Ian Hannah, and a dozen determined kids on-screen, Bea set out to shoot a video for Hamid. She wanted it to show that kids understand something desperately important: that the adults who have the power to do so must act and save Hamid’s life immediately.

Kara Dawson

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AI group 123

In Beatrice’s words:

“I joined Amnesty in March of 2012. I had always been passionate about human rights.

My mom suggested Amnesty International. I contacted Kara Dawson, our amazing coordinator, and my friend and mom went with me to my first meeting to group 123. It was a great experience. Everyone was polite, and treated me like an equal with valid opinions, despite my age. At my first meeting I also met Antonella, the wife of Hamid Ghassemi Shall. Hearing her talk about what was happening with Hamid’s case was a real wake up call. All of a sudden, a human rights violation was no longer a picture on a screen, but something that someone right in front of me was, and is, going through. We were inspired to make our Free Hamid video by the thousands of cards of support and concern sent to Antonella by students. It has been a life altering experience working with Amnesty.

I cannot imagine going back to being uninvolved and I want to work with Amnesty for a long time.

Beatrice inspires us all to hope for the coming generation of young activists: she is passionate, articulate and willing to do the work to promote human rights. Keep up the great work Beatrice!

Shanaaz Gokool

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Former AITO Chair

THANK YOU, BEATRICE!

George Harvey

George Harvey

“I am constantly inspired…”

George Harvey is smiling at the camera with another Amnesty member.George is passionate and kind beyond measure. I have never met or spoken to anyone who does not have overwhelming respect and admiration for the work George does and for his strength of character.

I will give you one small anecdote: when I was selected to attend the ICM in 2011, George was one of the first to express how proud he was of me and how excited he was for this opportunity. This is who George really is: someone who is intelligent, articulate, compassionate, and very much interested and attentive to sharing in the successes of others and encouraging them to do more – always.

Matt P.

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In George’s words:

George Harvey is smiling and looking at the camera. He is being lit by a projector.“I started volunteering with Amnesty in 2005, specifically in LGBT rights. The nature of LGBT rights cases tend to be very violent and distressing. It is very common for me to hear: “You must find that so depressing”. This could not be further from the truth. One of the things I love about Amnesty International is that it brings together a diverse and confident group of people united by one cause: To make the world a better place.

I know that the laughs I share with my Amnesty friends, the moments we rely on each other for support, and the sense of unity we share can only help our cause. We find joy and strength where those who oppose equality would wish us to find misery and weakness.

These moments are to be sought out and cherished and only serve to strengthen our resolve. We have heartbreaking cases that inform us of the need for Amnesty International but we have moments of victory and celebration as well. I think the Pride Parade is a great example of one of these moments.

I find myself constantly learning new things at Amnesty International…about the world around me, about the process of human rights, but also about the incredible strength of the human spirit. I am constantly inspired by the people I volunteer with and they truly make me so grateful to be a part of this movement. I have many more things to learn, but knowing I share this journey with a group of people like the volunteers and staff at Amnesty International encourages me every single day.”

THANK YOU, GEORGE!