February 24, 2003

Dear sympathizers, advocates and especially those yet unaware of Falun Dafa,

Thank you so much for taking the time to enact the precious movements of teaching, listening, and initiating change. It is so comforting to know that there is a community of conscientious people working for awareness, justice, and the dignity of all.

I would first like to say that I am by no means an authority on Falun Dafa, but rather I am the product of awareness demonstrations like this one. Less than a year ago I had never heard of Falun Gong or Falun Dafa, although I have always been deeply invested in human rights. Last year, I was walking the streets of Chicago when I came upon an exercise demonstration of about a hundred men, women, and children. It seemed so beautiful and powerful to me to see a community of people, whose abundant inner richness and peace was overflowing, bringing their spirituality into the street- especially when it is so often compartmentalized in our modern, American life. There were no petitions or posters or donations wanted, just a sign that said "www.faluninfo.net". I began researching Falun Dafa and was shocked and horrified to learn that this mediation practice I observed, that appeared to be infused with power, and rich peace, was the target of countless injustices. I read the fact sheets and the articles-- that more than three hundred practitioners, five hundred now, have been confirmed dead, the forced labor camps, the brutality against imprisoned women, and stories about people who have wrongly been committed to mental institutions for practicing Falun Dafa, and about families devastated by the effects of this unwarranted persecution.

And, simply, I knew that it was wrong. And I was overwhelmed by once again confronting a world in which systematic, state sanctioned murder and violence occur with religion as its motivation, and I was not surprised that religion was once again merely a pretense for greed, power-hungriness, and political totalitarianism to run rampant.

I was forced to question the effect the persecution of the Falun Gong had on me. At first, one might ask what effect the abuse of a religious people in China, thousands of miles away from me, here, as a student in Colorado Springs had, but I found that it had a profound consequence. I found that by denying other people's rights, or accepting them with silence, I denied myself freedom, and dignity. I, in fact, relinquished my rights to justice and freedom if I resigned myself to apathy, concluding that the struggle of others was not "of significance" to me.

Indeed, it is of deciding importance because the question then becomes markedly clear--what is of real value if not justice, goodwill, and human dignity? Am I, are we, supposed to entertain ourselves with tokens of comfort and happiness when it is plainly clear that what afflicts of a group of people, here and now the Falun Gong, is continuously at work in our world.

And if anyone has the duty to confront criminal acts, seeded in prejudice, intolerance, and manifested through reckless and negligent political clout--it is us, here in the United States because of the relative freedoms and comforts we enjoy which should make us sympathetic to those without basic freedoms rather than alienate us.

And so I challenge the United States government, beginning with our representatives here in Denver, to continue, renew and intensify their support for human and religious rights of the Falun Gong by demanding that the Chinese government immediately end the detainment, murder, and violence faced by thousands of Falun Dafa practitioners, beginning with returning Charles Li to his family. As I continue to do my small part by writing letters, petitioning, organizing, and voicing my ardent dissent to the violation of all human rights.

Thank you very much,

Kiley Goodson-Dunlap

and the Colorado College chapter of Amnesty International