The school’s Amnesty International club hosted the year’s first Jamnesty open-mic night today, September 16 at Mountain View’s Red Rock Café. The event allowed performers to showcase their talents and helped Amnesty raise money to help political prisoner Leonard Peltier and soon-to-be-executed Troy Davis.
Red Rock Café was filled with many attendees, who listened to a variety of performances ranging from songs, poetry and raps. Both current and former students performed at this event.
Senior Shefali Vasudevan performed an original piece that will be in her demo album. Senior Sarah Weber described senior David Han’s rap as a “very unique and cool addition to this year’s Jamnesty. LAHS graduates Johnny Henriquez and Andrew Templeton, seniors Ryan Rishi and Zack Strom and junior Arthur Bogdanovich were also among the people who performed Friday night.
Along with the performances, Amnesty raised awareness and money for the release of Peltier and to help Davis. Since there was no charge to watch the performances, Amnesty encouraged members of the audience to donate during the night.
The club has taken Peltier as a key focus since last year. Peltier, an American Indian human rights activist, was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison after allegedly killing two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents during a shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Since the trial, Peltier’s attorneys have supposedly found more evidence that supports Peltier’s innocence in the murder of the FBI agents.
Davis was convicted almost 20 years ago for murder on little evidence and is set to be executed Wednesday, September 21.
Through Jamnesty, Zack and other members of Amnesty pushed for others to take part in an online letter writing campaign to grant Davis clemency. Informational fliers were passed around to instruct people how to go through the online letter-writing to help Davis, and a poster of Peltier was hung behind the performers throughout the night to remind the audience to sign a petition for Peltier at the end of the event.
With over 60 people attending the night, Zack viewed the first Jamnesty of the school year as a success.
“Jamnesty’s important because it’s such a great way to publicize our causes,” Zack said. “It’s been Amnesty International’s signature event for several years now and there’s a feeling of tradition.”
[photos by Jacqueline Hoang]