We invite you to join WAT’s Torture Awareness Week Fast (June 21-26). We will be fasting in our homes in deference to the still unvanquished pandemic. Fast for a day or two or for all five days, and meet with us on Zoom for mutual support on Monday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday morning. Our purpose is to use our own bodies to deepen our understanding of the U.S. use of torture, especially against the Muslim men locked in Guantanamo. Read our Thoughts on Fasting.
If you would like to join us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “RSVP for Fast” in the subject line: you’ll receive the Zoom link and tips on fasting safely. Below are actions to take and other Torture Awareness Week events.
Press release: Torture Awareness Week — WAT June 2021 Press Release
Menu of Actions to Take During the Week
Choose the actions that are meaningful to you. Even if you decide not to fast, you can still join in taking concrete actions to oppose torture and support torture survivors. Keep checking back for details: list is in progress!
-Write to the men in Guantanamo: Names and instructions are here.
-Email/call Congresspersons: This week, call or email your representative and Senators telling them you’re concerned about the men in Guantanamo, and why. Urge them to press the administration to clear and release detainees and close Guantanamo. Find your members: House, Senate.
-Email/call President Biden: Tell President Biden why you’re concerned about the men in Guantanamo and urge him to act more quickly to empty the prison and close it. Email: www.whitehouse.gov/
-Vigil in your home town: Make a sign stating your own demand and stand on a busy street corner for an hour. Ask your friends to join you, but even a one-person vigil can have an impact.
-Write a letter to your home town paper: Use your own words or draw on some of the ideas in this Sample Letter to the Editor . Draw on the stark facts as reasons to close Guantanamo. Your viewpoint counts, especially in your own community!
–Watch The Mauritanian, the film about former Guantanamo prisoner Mohamedou Ould Salahi, starring Jodie Foster and Tahar Rahim. Now available online for only $5.99. Watch it yourself, or organize a group of friends to view it together!
Keep checking back for what other groups are doing: the list is in progress!
(And send us your local anti-torture and close Guantanamo actions and events to post.)
Monday, June 21 – WAT Fast Begins: Zoom circle at 8 pm ET (Send email to email@example.com with “RSVP to fast” in subject line for Zoom link)
Wednesday, June 23 – WAT Fast Zoom circle at 8 pm ET
Saturday, June 26 – 11 am WAT Fast Zoom circle and breaking of fast
–TASSC online conference – The Asylum Crisis in the US
Wednesday, June 23 – Info and Zoom sign-up here.
–Close Guantanamo Vigil Livestream
Saturday, June 26, 2 pm – We will livestream a WAT Close Guantanamo Vigil in Lafayette Park, Washington DC.
Torture Awareness Week is the lead-up to June 26, the International UN Day of Support for Victims of Torture — a day that WAT has traditionally observed in conjunction with TASSC: Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition. TASSC was founded in 1998 by Sister Dianna Ortiz after she was captured and brutally tortured while teaching in the highlands of Guatemala. Upon her return to the U.S. she fasted in front of the White House demanding information about U.S. involvement in her torture. Tragically, this courageous woman, who not only survived kidnapping and torture but used the experience to become a voice for torture victims everywhere died of cancer February 19 at the age of 62. We miss her greatly. Dianna, Presente!
In the early years of WAT we gathered in June to vigil in solidarity with torture survivors at the TASSC vigil in Lafayette Square, donning orange jump suits and protesting nonviolently.
This year a small group of WAT and other local activists will hold a vigil in Lafayette Square at 2 pm Saturday June 26, to read the names of the 40 Muslim men in Guantanamo. Watch it live-streamed at facebook.com/rehumanizeintl.
Silent Vigil for UN “International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.”
–Starvin’ for Justice Anti-death Penalty Events
June 29 – July 2, Supreme Court Washington, DC
Starvin’ for Justice Anti-death Penalty Fast and Vigil
Death penalty abolitionists from around the country will gather for the 28th year at the steps of the Supreme Court to call for an end to capital punishment in the United States.
–Online donations: Click here.
New York Catholic Worker
Attn: Witness Against Torture
55 East Third Street
New York, NY 10003