We spend a lot of time around here searching for bands we think mean something. In Issue 38, one of those bands was New York's First Nation, who we kept up on as we do with all of our favorite bands. Because of that continued interest, we heard about Columbia High School's Jamnesty fundraiser– taking place at the Morrow Church in Maplewood, New Jersey on Saturday– which First Nation is playing this year along with their friends Excepter, and which raises funds for Save Darfur and Amnesty International, among others. We sent Jamnesty a MySpace message and got a response from Logan Takahashi, a senior at Columbia and one of Jamnesty's organizers. He was nice enough to take time out from his organizing and studies to answer a few questions which you can read after the jump. And because it would be weird if a bunch of old hipsters showed up at a high school party, click on the above links to support Save Darfur and Amnesty International.
How long has Jamnesty been going on?
This is the seventh Jamnesty, so since 2000.
How did you decide on Save Darfur/Amnesty Int'l as your charity?
The event is put on by my high school's Amnesty Int'l Human Rights
club, and I've been involved with them since I got into high school.
Jamnesty is pretty much our biggest event of the year, so it's a good
opportunity to raise awareness about human rights issues that we feel
need attention. This is the third year in a row that the proceeds are
going to Save Darfur, as the situation in Sudan still needs a lot of
How did you hook up with Excepter and First Nation?
We first asked Excepter to play Jamnesty three years ago (Back in the
Caitlin Cook/Calder Martin days). They ended up getting a really good
response, and I think they really enjoyed it as well, so it wasn't
very hard getting them to come back the next year. When I contacted
them to play this year, Dan Hougland (from Excepter) gave me the heads
up on First Nation. One of their members, Nina, is actually from
Maplewood, and went to my high school, so I think they were interested
right off the bat.
Tell me about some of the other bands on the bill.
We have a bunch of young local bands with stuff ranging from garage
rock to thrash punk to folk punk to noise. We also are having a step
team from my school come and do a performance, which should be sweet.
I'm actually in two of the bands that are playing (ClumsyCumulus, and
Americop). You can go to the Jamnesty MySpace and check out all their
Do you think kids your age are getting more involved with activism
than in the recent past? If so, why do you think that is?
Yes and no. I think there's a lot more issues to be active about
today. (It seems like more and more everyday). So I've seen a lot of
people I know become compelled to go out and try to do something
(protest, participate in Amnesty, etc.), which is awesome. But at the
same time I think of my generation's pretty apathetic. We grew up on
South Park and are used to making fun of everything. (No diss to South
Park, I'm just saying, they're some haters). So I think it's a good
thing for people my age to realize that they do have the ability to be
active and help change things for the better.
So has organizing the event inspired you to continue working in
non-profit or rights organizations as you go to college/as a career?
For sure. My experience with the Amnesty Int'l club in general
definitely helped influence my decision to go Oberlin College next
year. Oberlin has a strong activist student body and it seems like a
good place to be exposed to and discuss any number of issues. I'm also
considering getting an internship with Amnesty at some point before I