Welcome to The Optimism Club

Vigil by Candlelight for Akmal Shaikh

Vigil for Akmal Shaikh (Getty Images 2009)

The Optimism Club was born on December 29th 2009, in the early hours of the morning, as a group of loosely-connected people across Twitter and Facebook did what they could to raise awareness of the plight and impending execution of Akmal Shaikh, a Briton suspected of being mentally ill who was duped into trafficking drugs into China. As the morning wore on, hope of his reprieve faded, but the energy created amongst that community was unforgettable. One young tweeter I met that night who was repeatedly posting and re-tweeting links in a passionate and optimistic hope that even at this late hour the Chinese government would show clemency and stay the execution, inspired me with her beseeching earnestness. It made me smile to see such positivity. I wanted to bottle it. I suggested to the young woman, jokingly, that we were founder members of the Optimism Club. And the idea stuck.

Having been interested in the subject of the death penalty and researching for my personal blog for some months, I decided to kick off a new channel to gather and propagate facts, resources and news to give people the tools they need to discuss worldwide death penalty issues in an informed and consistent way; The Optimism Club aims to contribute to the growing worldwide opposition to capital punishment by informing people and promoting action wherever possible. Optimism in itself is a wonderful quality; but it needs to be matched with action in order for us to see progress. So at this site I will post news of conferences, protests, petitions, campaigns and fundraisers. Want to help fight one small corner of the massive global effort towards achieving universal justice and equal rights for human beings everywhere? The Optimism Club hopes to give you some pointers.

In the words of @_Weava, an active blogger, tweeter and campaigner for Iranian justice, “I’ll take the risk that my voice has very little influence and see if I can’t add a note or two to the global choir”.

The objective of this blogsite is to create a repository for articles, links, news etc. Submissions are most welcome – and I will be delighted to link to your website if you wish to contact me at theoptimismclub@gmail.com.

Please stay tuned for more news, information, events and resources