Of Orange Jumpsuits and DC Protests

My first day as a media relations intern at Amnesty International included the following: a protest outside of the Department of Justice and an orange jumpsuit.

I guess you could say that those items are a little out of the ordinary when it comes to your typical media relations internship.

In the days leading up my first day, the media relations unit had been hard at work at contacting and pitching the media to generate a buzz about an Amnesty International-organized protest. The protest was to call on the US Attorney General to hold former vice president Dick Cheney accountable for possible war crimes committed during the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” The timing of the protest coincided with the release of Cheney’s memoir, in which he essentially condones acts of torture such as waterboarding. (It was pure coincidence that my first day was the day of the Cheney protest.)

I arrived at the Department of Justice promptly at 11a.m. and was handed an orange jumpsuit. Then, I was informed I would wear the jumpsuit and join the other protesters and Amnesty International staff in holding the huge banner that proclaimed, “We demand accountability for torture. Attorney General: investigate former vice president Cheney’s role in torture.” While we held the sign, various media outlets covered incident. The whole protest culminated in a Department of Justice spokesperson being presented with a copy of Cheney’s memoir and a letter demanding that he be held accountable for any war crimes he may have committed.

It was definitely a one-of-a-kind first day. (In an awesome way, of course.)