My Amnesty Tattoo

Also, a word about Amnesty International


It’s been a few months since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve done some writing for another site, and have several partly written entries for here, but until now, I haven’t posted any.

In January, I got a new tattoo, my third. The first two (a semicolon and a mental health affirmation) are about mental health and mental illness. The third one is the Amnesty International logo. Why would I get a non-profit’s logo tattooed on my arm?

Well, one of the first things about tattoos is to select something that is meaningful for you. My first two tattoos were about mental health and mental illness, being a mental health advocate is important to me. So are human rights, which is what Amnesty is all about. Amnesty’s work and principals are very much in line with mine.

As you see, the logo is a candle with barbed wire around it. The motto is “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” While I’ve never seen it in writing, the image makes me think of hope in the middle of oppression.

I’ve been an Amnesty member for years, I don’t actually remember how long. What do I do for Amnesty? I write letters, send emails, sign petitions and get the word out about the organization. Some of that may seem to be “slactivism”, but that’s not the case. One of the basic principles of Amnesty is to use public opinion to put pressure on those who allow human rights abuse to take place. The media and public demonstrations are used as well. I’ve not had the chance to participate in a demonstration, I’ve never heard of any near enough to be practical.

Amnesty was founded in London in 1961 by a lawyer, Peter Beneson. Amnesty has about 7 million members, a major factor in its success.

Amnesty received a Nobel Prize in 1977 for the “Campaign Against Torture.”

What are some of the principles of Amnesty?

  • Demand justice for those whose rights have been violated
  • Ending torture
  • Freeing prisoners of conscience
  • Ending the death penalty, “The ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights.”
  • Advocating for refugees
  • Bring an end the use of child soldiers
  • Promote religious tolerance
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Decriminalize abortion

All beliefs that I share, and which mean a lot to me.

How can you get involved? If you are in the USA, check out: There are many simple actions you can take to get started, you don’t have to be a member to help out, just do it. If you are not in the USA, Amnesty is all over the world, just use you favorite search engine.

A note on references. Much of this I knew, but for a few things like the number of members Amnesty has, or the year in the early ’60s that Amnesty was formed, I looked up on Wikipedia. Of course, if this was a scholarly paper, not a blog post, I couldn’t use an encyclopedia as a reference. The stigma of Wikipedia aside, no encyclopedia can be used as a source in any serious work.This is because encyclopedias are not considered “scholarly” works, rather they are “popular” works. As an English professor I once had said, they are “tertiary” sources, meaning third-hand.

Do you have any tattoos to talk about? Or some thoughts on your favorite non-profits? Let us know in the comments!

As usual, there’s a lot more stuff at and


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