“We Will Not Be Silent”

Welcome to TASSC’s 19th Annual June Survivors Week! We invite you to join us at our yearly celebration to learn about current human rights issues such as torture, U.S. policy on human rights, and the long wait torture survivors face before they are granted asylum. This year’s event is dedicated to TASSC survivors and all the brave women and men throughout the world who refuse to “be silent” in the face of injustice. Come network with our staff, volunteers and partners who provide social, medical, legal, employment and psychological services to survivors.  Meet leaders of human rights and faith-based groups, policymakers and most important, the survivors who will be featured at this Week’s events. 

Conference Schedule

Wednesday, June 22 - 9:00 am-5:30 pm 

Gowan Hall, Catholic University of America

(near Brookland/Catholic University metro) 

9:00-9:30 am

Registration, coffee and tea

9:30-9:45 am

Conference Welcome

Gizachew Emiru, TASSC Executive Director 

9:45-10:30 am

Keynote Address

Juan Mendez, UN Rapporteur on Torture

10:30-11:45 am

U. S. Foreign Policy, Democracy and Human Rights 

Nii Akuetteh, African Immigrant Caucus

Simegnish “Lily” Mengesha, Ethiopian journalist

Adlan Abdelaziz, Sudanese survivor, Sudan Human Rights Network  

Moderator: Andrea Barron, TASSC Advocacy Consultant 

11:45-1:00 pm


1:00-2:00 pm

Asylum Office and Immigration Court Backlog 

Jennifer Quigley, Human Rights First

Joshua Rigney, TASSC attorney

Janel Martial Siewe Kwegue, TASSC torture survivor

Moderator: Lindsey Wilkes, Kayi & Wilkes PLLC 



2:15-4:00 pm

Advocacy Training

Andrea Barron, TASSC Advocacy Consultant

Preparation for Capitol Hill Advocacy Day for

Survivors and TASSC Supporters

4:00-4:15 pm


4:15-5:30 pm

Survivors and TASSC supporters meet to

plan Capitol Hill visits 

Thursday, June 23 - 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Capitol Hill Advocacy Day

Delegations of survivors and TASSC supporters visit congressional offices to

share their stories, support human rights, an end to torture, and policies to

reduce the asylum office and immigration court backlog. 

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

House Committee on Foreign Affairs

11:00 am- 12:30 pm

Room 2255 - Rayburn House Office Building

Location:  Independence Avenue between First Street SW and South Capitol Street

(nearest metro is Capitol South)

TASSC survivor Merga Gelgelo from Ethiopia will testify at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives to commemorate International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Another speaker will be from the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP), a network of programs committed to the care of torture survivors worldwide.

Friday, June 24 - 9:00 am-3:30 pm

TASSC Office- Capuchin Recreation Room

 (For Survivors Only) 

9:00-10:00 am

Coffee and Pastries 

10:00 am-12:00 pm

Business Meeting

Staff Reports 

12:00-1:30 pm


1:30-3:30 pm

Community of Healing

Artistic Reflections on “We Will Not Be Silent”:

Drawing, Writing, Poetry, Singing and Acting

Saturday, June 25 - 11:00 am -4:00 pm

White House Vigil

Lafayette Park - Opposite the White House

Please join us in commemorating victims of torture by keeping vigil,

celebrating life, remembering lost friends and family, and renewing our

commitment to a world where torture is banned forever.  Listen to music,

poetry, survivor testimonies  and statements of solidarity from human

rights groups and interfaith allies who are part of this ongoing struggle. 

Sunday, June 26 – 6:00-10:00 pm


Busboys and Poets Restaurant

2021 14th St, NW

Washington DC

(Nearest metro: U Street/Cardozo) 


Survivors face unique challenges as they learn to trust again. TASSC works to assist them in their quest to reintegrate themselves into society.

Ready to take the next step? You can become a contributor to our cause, donate or participate yourself through volunteering or internship.