“All my life I’ve felt humbled in the face of the suffering of others,” she says. "It is only that I, by accident of birth, was born in the right place at the right time, and that someone else, not me, huddles in a prison cell, is tortured, and faces the unbearable consequences of having been born in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or, as the legendary Phil Ochs song says, there but for fortune, go you or I.
“Happily for me, I discovered early on that, in the words of Swedish Ambassador Harald Edelstam, “I cannot tolerate injustice.” This inability to tolerate injustice has brought me to the roots of human misery, called me to engage in the fight for the rights, freedoms, and the dignity of others. And in so doing, has helped me to maintain my own dignity.
“In 1972 I was inspired to devote a year of my life to helping Amnesty launch its first US office on the west coast, and years later, when the organization had grown to worldwide proportions, to perform in both its A Conspiracy of Hope and Human Rights Now! tours.
“Today I stand with Amnesty and their Death Penalty Abolition Campaign to fight for the life of Troy Davis, who within weeks could be executed for a crime he may not have committed. There remain serious doubts of his guilt. His death sentence defies all logic and morality.
“In matters of life and death, there is no room for doubt.
“With their death penalty campaign work, Amnesty has long been a leader in the struggle to abolish the death penalty in every corner of the world.
“In honor of Amnesty’s 50th birthday, please join me in this life-saving work. Become a member during Amnesty’s September membership drive and a generous donor will match your gift dollar-for-dollar.
“It used to be that human rights abuses weren’t on anyone’s agenda. Today, when human rights prevail, it happens thanks to organizations like Amnesty.
“Amnesty has grown into the most powerful human rights movement in history, winning freedom for tens of thousands of individuals jailed for expressing their beliefs, shutting down torture chambers and halting executions.
“At the heart of these human rights victories is the dedicated Amnesty member who stuffs envelopes, signs petitions, is visible at marches and rallies, recruits friends, tweets, and supports Amnesty with financial contributions.
“I have a special place in my heart for Amnesty. I hope that you do, too. We need Amnesty, and Amnesty needs us. Please join me as a member today.”