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Indybay Feature

34 countries, 17 states represented "100,000 Tweets for Oscar"

by Alejandro Luis Molina (alejandrom [at] boricuahumanrights.org)
Over 500,000 people were reached on January 6, 2015, Oscar's 72nd birthday, as the National Boricua Human Rights Network and La Respuesta coordinated the "Social Media Campaign for Oscar López."
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Using various hashtags (e.g. #freeoscarlopez, #gift4oscar, #regalopaoscar) on Twitter primarily, but also Facebook and Instagram, the campaign publicly brought together a broad spectrum of supporters, from Calle 13's René Pérez to actor Luis Guzmán; from NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito to Congress members Nydia Velázquez and Luis Gutiérrez, from blogs like Latino Rebels to newspapers like El Nuevo Día.

Elected city and state elected officials from three different states also supported the social media campaign: State Representative Leslie Acosta and Philadelphia Councilwoman Maria Quiñonez in Pennsylvania; Chicago Alderman Roberto Maldonado, and State Representative Cynthia Soto in Illinois. Organized labor contributed: 1199 and Labor Council For Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)'s Facebook page also carried the message.

In Puerto Rico, the campaign was tweeted and posted on Twitter and sometimes Facebook by former governor Aníbal Acevedo Vila; the Puerto Rico Department of Labor; pro-independence organizations, including the Movimiento Pro-Independencia Nacional Hostosiano; and the committees working for Oscar's freedom: the Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico and 32x0scar.

Popular blogs/newspapers also mentioned the campaign in the days leading up to January 6. Thanks go out to Latino Rebels, 80Grados, El Nuevo Día online, Telesur, and Primera Hora, as well as the German online blog "Derstandard," the Japanese "AppleDaily," and Mexico's APIAvirtual.net.

Activist and movement-based organizations such as Jericho Network, Leonard Peltier Support Committee, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Committee, and Irish and Palestine support committees also posted to Facebook and Twitter.

Community-based and educational organizations that also contributed are: El Puente in Brooklyn, Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia, Roberto Clemente Community Academy, The Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School. Tweets came from IN, NY, CA, HI, OH, FL, CT, TN, MD, MN, GA, WDC, MI, MA, RI, PA, and IL.

The international community was present with Tweets from 34 countries: Malaysia, Austria, Romania, Peru, Panama, Sri Lanka, Australia, Turkey, Portugal, Kosovo, Uruguay, Lebanon, Ghana, Netherlands, Israel, Brazil, Guatemala, Algeria, Spain, Venezuela, Canada, Dominican Republic, Argentina, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Romania, Morocco, Mexico, Chile, India, France, Ecuador, Italy, Puerto Rico, and the United States.

Many people also participated in creative by highlighting their talents such as writing songs, sewing puppets, baking cakes, and producing original artwork as their 'gift' for Oscar.

La Respuesta and the Network would like to thank everyone for this amazing act of solidarity and faith, a small step on the long road to Oscar's freedom.
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