Last night I attended a small yet thoughtful community rally. I must admit to being surprised at having received the initial invitation to attend which came from Michael Becker, Amnesty International Unley Group representative. Here I was being asked to participate in a candle light vigil to mark, “The World Day Against the Death Penalty” at the Unley Memorial Gardens.
The invitation should not have been a surprise yet it was. On reflection I can only think that this is because in our community we simply haven’t had enough of these “people led” gatherings. Perhaps I’m more used to council/business/sporting/church sponsored events. Community events like this are rare, but I ask myself why? It is from the community that such events need to be drivin if our community is to understand its unique identity.
During the service Michael began with a thoughtful speech which was then followed by four other members who read parts of speeches from prominent global leaders who had campaigned against the death penalty. It was amazingly thought-provoking experience.
I found myself in deep contemplation about an issue that I have taken for granted. I felt the urge to want to do something about it. I found myself thinking about the changes that our society must have undergone in order to move from a culture that accepted capital punishment to one that argues against it on the world stage. It made me think about how tyrannical any government can be. It made me think about issues of justice. It made me think about redemption. It made me think about what cultural changes would need to occur in countries for them to shift their priorities and ban the death penalty. It made me think what would our society be like if we didn’t have people in the community who made such events happen.
I commend Amnesty International Unley for their leadership in organising the vigil and thank them for challenging me and others to think. It was interesting to hear how people hear the event was happening. Some had seen fliers and other from Facebook.
So I hope if you are passionate about an issue that you take the time to organise something. You don’t need to have hundreds of people to make it a success. All you need is the desire to talk about an issue with others.