Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Media Source: 
DC Vote - Press Release

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Today Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) announced that Blacks in Government (BIG) has passed several pro-human rights resolutions, which included calling for the suspended use of TASERs pending a rigorous medical investigation, abolishing the death penalty, ending racial profiling and improving the human rights crisis in Sudan. BIG's national delegates, who represent 10,000 African Americans employed by federal, state and local governments, made a special effort to address human rights issues during its 27th annual meeting held in Orlando, FL. AIUSA Board Member and BIG National First Vice President Matthew Fogg spearheaded the effort by introducing six resolutions that the delegates adopted.

"By passing these resolutions, BIG declared its belief that human rights principles should be at the cornerstone of every government policy," said Fogg. "Now that Amnesty International and BIG are united in achieving these goals, the call to stop inhumane, degrading practices inside U.S. borders will be harder to ignore."

The six BIG resolutions, which all passed unanimously, also included calls to repeal the U.S. Patriot Act and to provide government representation for the District of Columbia.

"BIG is proud to align its objectives with an organization like Amnesty International USA, an ally in the fight for domestic human rights and equal opportunity," said Darlene Young, National President of Blacks in Government. "Now, our more than 10,000 members will join Amnesty International's calls for an end to racial profiling, the death penalty and a number of other inhumane practices that erode our country's respect for equality, diversity, and human rights standards."

Citing concerns about the growing number of deaths following TASER use and the potential for the electro-shock weapons to be abused, BIG passed a resolution supporting Amnesty International's call to suspend the use of TASERs pending a comprehensive, impartial medical inquiry.

In BIG's resolution addressing capital punishment, the organization joined Amnesty International in calling for an immediate moratorium on the practice, which it called "cruel and racially biased." On Monday, August 22, BIG and Amnesty International met with Maryland State's Attorney Glenn Ivey and Maryland Citizens Against State Executions to discuss their concerns about the death penalty.

Amnesty International also welcomes the passage of BIG's resolution calling for an end to the Patriot Act. BIG is concerned about the erosion of civil liberties and unchecked government power codified by this legislation.

BIG delegates found information about the highly pervasive nature of racial profiling, documented in a September 2004 AIUSA report, extremely compelling. Based on the report's findings and other statistics, BIG delegates passed a resolution that calls for an end to this practice.

In response to the human rights catastrophe in Sudan, BIG passed a resolution stating that the "United States should divest its public pension funds from U.S. companies and from foreign companies doing business in and with the government of Sudan." As of September 2004, at least 2.2. million people had been affected by violence in Sudan; 50,000 had died; 1.4 million had been displaced and thousands of women had been raped.

BIG also passed a resolution in favor of granting D.C. residents representation with equal voting rights in Congress. The resolution argued that the District of Columbia's lack of equal representation in the national legislature has a disproportionate effect on minorities.

BIG is a national organization that was founded in 1975.

For more information on Amnesty International USA, please visit: http://www.aiusa.org.

For more information on BIG, please visit: http://www.bignet.org/.

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