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Young People Can Change the World, Says Amnesty International Executive Director Larry Cox


(Feb. 3, 2011) -- The images of Egyptian citizens protesting against President Hosni Mubarak should hit close to home to Morehouse students, Amnesty International USA executive director Larry Cox said.

“You can see the key role that you have to play in that fight in regards to human rights,” said Cox during the Internationalization Crown Forum in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. “The truth is, the people leading the fight for human rights right now in Egypt are the people who often lead the fight for human rights around the world and who have led the fight for human rights in this country: young people. Young people no older than you, many of them younger than you sitting here today.

“Young people are playing the key role – and I don’t mean they are participants,” he said. “They are in the leadership in the fight for human rights.”

Cox said that fight is for freedom of expression, social rights and against poverty, brutality and torture. It’s a battle they want to fight in solidarity with young people in the United States, he added.

“They want your support – they need your support - because your government has supported the dictator in Egypt for more than thirty years with billions of dollars,” Cox said. “Therefore, they believe not wrongly that Americans have a responsibility to speak out and do something to end that relationship and help them to remove the man who has brutalized them and denied them economically for too long.”

One person – or student – alone cannot fight for human rights, he said. But finding others who have the same concerns and then forming larger groups “can change anything,” Cox said.

He said an example of how Morehouse students can do that is to create an Amnesty International chapter at Morehouse.

“You should know you have that power to change the world, just like the people in Egypt who are risking their lives, just like the people who came before you in this institution who risked their lives to end racial apartheid in this country,” Cox said. “Just like those people, you have the power.

“Amnesty International exists for only one reason, which is to help you use that power to make a different kind of world where your kids will be better off than you are.”

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