Amnesty Hosts Open Mic For Charity

The Amnesty International Open Mic, an annual event that is both an opportunity for local teens to perform and a fundraiser for the school’s club, took place on Thursday, December 6 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Red Rock Coffee Co. in downtown Mountain View.

The event was free. According to club president Alissa Van Erp, asking for donations worked well last year, so the club decided to organize it the same way this year.

“[Last year] the people who work there said they had never see a bigger turnout [at an event],” Alissa said.

The club plans to donate half of the proceeds to the global organization Amnesty International and half to a non-profit group in Haiti called Fonkoze, which translates as “shoulder to shoulder” in Creole. Fonkoze works to provide nutrition and education to people in Haiti and to try to rebuild Haiti’s economy.

“Whatever people can give, we’re really grateful for,” Alissa said.

Last year the proceeds came to over $300 and were distributed in the same manner.

“It was a great turnout last year,” club adviser Seth Donnelly said. “Some really great kid are involved and it’s a great venue.”

Each year, anyone can show up to perform or contact a club member to see if there will be time although space is limited.

Local bands including Maya and Frankie and Flawed Logic performed at the event. The event also featured a poetry reading by junior Madison Freeman and a few solo songs by Mountain View and Freestyle student Ben Mandeberg. There were also a few impromptu acts from people in the audience.

In between acts, speeches were made to raise awareness about current human rights issues. Donnelly talked specifically about Haitian political prisoner Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, and more broadly about human rights in general.

“That’s the goal of Amnesty International—not just to raise money, but to raise awareness,” Alissa said.

Performances last year included poetry and music, among other things. The event was not only a way to raise money, but a venue for members of the community to showcase their talents.

Junior Maya Knowles, half of the band Maya and Frankie, decided to perform again this year.

“We did it last year and it was really fun,” Maya said. “We’ll basically take any chance to get out there. … It’s a really good cause, and not a lot of people know about Amnesty International. … I’m really proud to be a part of that.”