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Amnesty Group and Street Fair

September 04, 1988

The presence of Amnesty International at the Orange International Street Fair should be an asset to that event, if, indeed, the sponsors wish it to be truly international and family-oriented.

Hundreds of children are in prison today, many in South Africa where they are detained without trial, often without permission for families to visit, and frequently tortured and mistreated. It is important for the children of Orange to know that Amnesty International exists, and that it works to help children in South Africa, and everywhere, who are subjected to such gross mistreatment.

According to Adele Graves, as quoted in your article, Amnesty International's opposition to the death penalty and one member's participation in a political demonstration would be sufficient to make the group unacceptable to the fair. Coretta Scott King has spoken frequently against capital punishment and has participated in political demonstrations. Does Graves believe that the widow of Martin Luther King would be an unacceptable person at the Orange Fair? Is any organization to which she belongs unacceptable then, just because she belongs to it?

In contrast with Amnesty International, which is completely independent from any government, many charitable and service organizations work very closely with governments; they include the Red Cross and the major churches with chaplains who are salaried members of the armed forces. It would appear that the Orange Fair committee objects to Amnesty International because it disagrees with Amnesty's ideas, and therefore wishes to exclude it from representation. This attitude is contrary to the stated intention of the fair to celebrate the nation's pluralism and diversity--in a word, it is "un-American."

HELEN JASKOSKI

Fullerton

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