June is Torture Awareness Month. This month of education and remembrance includes a multitude of issues that are already making headlines. The fight to repeal indefinite detention authorities that Congress approved and President Obama signed into law through the National Defense Authorization Act last year is just beginning. Also, the ongoing efforts to end solitary confinement and Islamophobia, and to demand accountability from the United States government are continuing to strengthen every day.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done, even though these issues are in the news and on the minds of legislators. Unfortunately, none of the individuals involved in Bush administration torture have been investigated for their involvement. In fact, such individuals as Jay Bybee have been rewarded for their participation. Bybee now has a lifetime seat on the federal bench. In comparison, millions of Americans have been imprisoned for undeniably less abhorrent crimes because of institutional racism and economic disparities that are so pervasive in the United States criminal justice system.
Many events will take place throughout the United States this month to remind the world that torture is unacceptable in any form. These events will include a march in Washington, DC, on June 24 and local vigils on June 26. You can organize a local vigil or to find out if a vigil has already been planed for your area. If you are looking to get involved with local initiatives in other ways, check out BORDC’s local campaigns on executive accountability for torture.