NEW YORK: Ahead of President Joe Biden's 100th day in office on Friday, Amnesty International U.S.A. has published a Welcome Pledge, calling for humane immigration policies.
In partnership with the Haitian Bridge Alliance, a coalition of Haitian nonprofits, and refugee- and immigrant-focused nonprofit RAICES, the pledge recognizes Biden's campaign pledge for "securing our values as a nation of immigrants." It calls on the U.S. to commit to a fair and humane immigration system.
As the organization's AOR, Fenton Communications is supporting Amnesty International with broadcast and relations for the organization's new executive director, Paul O'Brien, who took over in March. Sunshine Sachs is supporting outreach to entertainment trades.
Fenton's pitching involves engaging major mainstream and Beltway media outlets as well as local, community and niche platforms to reach those most likely to take action, according to André Ory, VP at Fenton.
"Paul O’Brien is taking the helm of Amnesty International U.S.A. at a pivotal time for human rights," Ory said. "Through our work, we will ensure that his and the leadership team’s perspective and commitments reach decision-makers, members and activists, and communities affected by threats to human rights."
The campaign is launching as Biden faces criticism from Republicans about the surge in asylum seekers on the southern border with Mexico. Nearly 100,000 immigrants were detained along the border in February, the highest monthly number since 2019, including thousands of unaccompanied children, according to PBS.
Mariya Parodi, Amnesty International senior press officer, said the nonprofit did work about child detention under former President Donald Trump, and while it continues those efforts, it is also acknowledging “Biden inherited a lot of these systems, and it’s not going to take a few days to undo everything."
“We wanted to build out time to voice how much we do support the effort this administration has made to validate people's humanity and speak to their dignity,” she said. “After the 100 days, we might go back to having a more 'we're watching you and we're going to hold you accountable' approach, but from the pledge goal, we're approaching it in good faith."
In addition to earned media, the PR agencies are working with Amnesty International social media manager Alison McQuade to bring advocacy online as the country remains distanced because of the pandemic.
The pledge uses nudge theory, hoping that by signing the pledge, people will be more likely to take action and follow through on the issue.
"Part of our goal is not just to get people to raise their hand and say, 'I support this cause' because people have done that in the past," McQuade said. "This pledge allows them to bring a smarter position to the people they will share it with online, whether that's a fun network, a professional network or their own personal interactions with friends and family."
The pledge has been signed by advocates, attorneys and artists including entertainers Rosario Dawson, Ben Stiller, Angélique Kidjo, George Takei and John Leguizamo.
Takei narrates a video accompanying the pledge, in which he speaks about his childhood experience of being detained in a Japanese internment camp during World War II and his faith that the United States will "do the work of recognizing everyone’s shared humanity."
Other than celebrity endorsements, Amnesty International is also tapping into its membership groups who can bring the pledge to their communities and online groups.
"In the last year, we've seen an increase in people's ability to take on more complex issues, and explainer accounts on different social networks have gained in popularity," McQuade said. "People want to dive deep into an issue and learn at a higher level beyond saying, 'I'm pro immigrant.' This pledge is an entry point for that to happen."