Press Release: Labor Day Campaign for Birtukan in Dallas
During the 8th annual Ethiopian Day festivals in Dallas, TX, the Dallas chapter of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP) support group in North American has successfully completed a two-day campaign to raise awareness about the continued suffering of Birtukan who has been in jail since December 2008. (more…)
During the 8th annual Ethiopian Day festivals in Dallas, TX, the Dallas chapter of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party (UDJP) support group in North American has successfully completed a two-day campaign to raise awareness about the continued suffering of Birtukan who has been in jail since December 2008.
On the 5th and 6th of September, the group has held a two-days teach-in on the life and prison condition of Birtukan as well as the deteriorating state of human rights in Ethiopia under the rule of TPLF. The Dallas-Andinet chapter also cooperated with the Dallas County Democratic Party members to conduct voter registration and petition signing to support health care reform among Ethiopian Americans who visited its booth. Major activities of the two-day campaign include:
* Teach-in events that were particularly focused on second generation Ethiopian-Americans and Ethiopian women were held. Through brochures and one-to-one sessions that were exclusively focused on these groups, the youth and the women were reminded that while there is much to celebrate in their heritage, there is also a daemon in the history of Ethiopian politics that the present generation has to fight to make the sacrifices of our forefather not to be in vain. Judge Birtukan Mideksa was introduced to them as a young mother who is sacrificing hers, her frail mother’s and her 5 year old daughter’s life to correct this wrong in our history. The young audience was particularly encouraged to draw parallels between the condition of Birtukan and the heroes and heroines of the civil rights movement they study in their classrooms. Both groups were finally urged to help the cause of Birtukan by organizing and participating in activities involving letter writing campaigns to their Law Makers and fund raising. The youth group was also asked to campaign on Birtukan’s behalf by sharing her life story to their American peers through their class work and school News paper writings.
* Video, Pictures and slide shows detailing the political activities of Birtukan in her former popular Kinijit party and her current UDJP was available around the clock.
* Over 3000 flyers containing background information and specific calls for actions to free Birtukan were distributed.
* T-Shirts with Birtukan’s Picture were sold to the public as Memorabilia
* Mr. Jeff Dalton, the Coordinating Campaign Director of the Dallas County Democratic Party along with a number of Democratic Party candidates for various offices including Mr. Grier Raggio who will be running against the current Republican Congressman Pete Sessions of 32nd District of Texas visited the booth. The visitors were briefed on the condition of Birtukan and the political situation of Ethiopia. Mr. Dalton invited Ato Dejene Assaye, chairman of the Andinet-Dallas support group chapter to speak at the Labor Day Picnic of the Dallas County Democratic Party.
* The next day, Ato Dejene spoke at the picnic where about 500 Democratic Party supporters and activists were gathered. After giving background information on Birtukan and Ethiopia, Dejene asked the audience to campaign for freedom of Birtukan by writing letters to their representatives in Washington and Austin to urge the State Department and the Obama Administration to demand for the immediate and unconditional release of Birtukan from prison.
This was how Judge Birtukan Midiksa was remembered in Dallas during this Labor Day weekend at the 8th annual Ethiopian Day.
Support Group Chapter September 8, 2009 Dallas, TX