Amnesty International Delights at Coffeehouse


Photo courtesy Marissa Starks

Julia Boberg '20 dances to her sister's violin accompaniment at Amnesty Coffeehouse.

Prep’s Amnesty International is one of the most active student led organizations on campus. From helping organize the student walk-out for gun rights in 2018 to raising awareness about various humanitarian crises worldwide, their presence at Prep is palpable to all.

Every year, Amnesty International holds an event–the Amnesty Coffeehouse–to raise money for an organization that aims to help those who are victims of human rights violations. Featuring performances from the students and beloved faculty along with exquisite snacks and (you guessed it!) coffee, the Amnesty Coffeehouse is an event many members of the Prep community look forward to each year.

An event of such magnitude always requires meticulous planning, and this year was no different. One of the events key managers and Amnesty International’s president Irene Jang ’20 remarked on the preparations, stating “the planning process started as soon as we got back from break. [Amnesty International members] decided on a topic that [they] wanted to help (refugees/immigration), chose an organization (IRC), and learned more about human rights violation towards refugees in meeting through discussions. We delegated a lot of the work amongst the leaders and members. As president, I made sure a lot of the logistics were handled for the day of, the bake sale before the coffeehouse, and made agendas for club meetings.”

The funds raised in the 2019 Amnesty Coffeehouse went this year to the International Rescue Committee, an organization aimed at aiding refugees or anyone affected by humanitarian crises of the greatest caliber. Jang commented on the selection of the IRC to donate all raised funds to, remarking, “We decided to give to give all the funds to the international rescue committee for a variety of reasons. First, they are a wonderful non-governmental organization that is trustworthy since charity watchdog gave them a high rating for giving a high percentage of the donations directly to the people. Second, not only do they provide immediate aid and relief to refugees, but they also help rebuild the lives of newly welcomed immigrants in the US with great English language learning programs, workforce seminars, etc. They also have collaborations with programs such as Sesame Street to help refugee children with PTSD release some of their stress and anxiety to children geared programs.”

As for the event itself, the various performances witnessed by those in attendance were remarkable. From Julia Boberg ’20 dancing to her sister’s violin accompaniment to the earth shattering snippet from Mr. Eric Hallett’s and Mr. William Bellaimey’s musical about the retired faculty Mr. John Ruch and Mr. Vatche Hagopian, there was never a dull moment throughout the night. David Egan ‘20, who performed a stand up comedy act, thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the annual Amnesty Coffeehouse, reminiscing, “it was great to be able to try stand up in front of friends and teachers and parents. It was my first time so I was pretty nervous, but I really had no reason to be. The atmosphere was very chill and supportive and I’m thankful everyone laughed at my jokes, even if they were faking it.”

Overall, the 2019 Amnesty Coffeehouse was a smashing success, raising money for a good cause while listening to the soulful tunes of Mr. Wagstaff, Mr. Perlman, and Mr. Salzman. It was surely a night no one would forget.