WASHINGTON, June 22, 2016— The second annual International Shia Rights Day was held this June in Washington, DC. The event was organized by the Non-Governmental Organization Shia Rights Watch (SRW) group that is dedicated to protecting the rights of Shia Muslims worldwide.
SRW stands up for victims of prejudice, and supports activism in order to prevent discrimination, support political freedom, and help ensure people’s human rights and religious freedom.
This year’s event was to honor 1,000 Nigerian Shia minorities who lost their lives during the Camp Speicher Shia massacre occurred on June 12, 2015. On that date ISIS militants escorted upwards of 3,000 Iraqi soldiers from the camp, an Iraqi military base previously operated by the United States, killing those soldiers who identified as Shia.
Though International Shia Day was originally introduced to raise awareness of Shia safety and oppression, the day is also intended to raise awareness of human rights of all minorities around the world who are facing oppression.
To raise awareness, volunteers passed out roses, each with card explaining International Shia Day and why it is important to the Farragut Park community.
Shia Rights Watch volunteers began their social media campaign the week prior. Friends and followers were encouraged to take a picture with a pledge and put it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Pledges varied from, “I pledge to end Shia oppression” and “I pledge to raise awareness about atrocities committed against Shias and other marginalized populations.”
Hashtags were also encouraged; #612ShiaDay and #IntShiaDay.
As well as the social media campaign, volunteers worked to make visual aid posters, preparing 612 roses, a number that remembers that horrible date of 6-12-2014 All 612 roses were given to those eating lunch or passing through the park, with volunteers taking time to share information on the group and the oppression of minorities and Shia Muslims.
Some individuals were inquisitive of the cause, while other expressed thanks that the group was celebrating minorities and raising awareness. The campaign was generally well received and it was a beautiful thing to see the park filled with gorgeous flowers.
The social media proved to be successful in its own right. The Shia Rights Watch Instagram page received 51 new likes, 18 followers and 2 posts celebrating the cause.
In just under a week, the SRW organization reached nearly 1,000 people. 1,000 individuals in the world that are now more aware of minority oppression.