Action Tokens bridge local, community action with supporters of the unlawfully detained. Although Action Token participants and supporters may be thousands of miles away from each other, participants can still express their concern, and supporters do not have to feel like they are alone.
Initially distributed by Amnesty International (“AI”), Action Tokens are coined-sized objects with unique identifiers (e.g., serial number), and have just enough information about individual detainees or groups of detainees to pique the interest of each participant who is given one. Each Action Token is imprinted with a URL (perhaps AI’s) where the participant can find out more information about a person who is unlawfully detained or about a campaign related to unlawful detention.
When a participant visits the target website, he/she can register the Action Token, give general location information (if comfortable disclosing), and specify the action that he/she will take (e.g., donate money, write a letter, sign a petition, etc.). Then the participant is expected to pass the token on to another person to share the message and encourage that person to get involved. As more participants register information related to the Action Token and take action, the total action count, which is prominently displayed on the website, will increase. Additionally, a participant will be able to monitor how the Action Token is traveling throughout their community and perhaps beyond, as well as see a visual mapping of his/her Action Network (i.e., how the Action Token is moving from person-to-person).
Furthermore, supporters of the unlawfully detained will be able to access and receive updates about the statistics related to Action Tokens. They will be able to monitor the movement of tokens throughout communities around the world, as well as the resulting action.
Action Tokens are a way to directly engage people who may otherwise feel removed from the problem of unlawful detention. Tokens and the tracking of their movement and resulting action allow each participant to see how what they do can actually make a difference. Additionally supporters of the unlawfully detained, though never meeting participants face-to-face, will hopefully be encouraged by the knowledge that other people acknowledge the injustice of the unlawful detention and want to help in some way; they will see that they are not alone.