Wednesday, March 21, 2007


With or Without President Bush . . .

Doing It
One State at A Time

Left: Xay Khamsyvoravong,
Deputy Chief of Staff
General Treasurer's Office

Scott Warren
Brown University Student
Standnow leader
Sudan Divestment Rhode Island leader

Isabella, Sajel, Sandra (ilovemylife), & ErinRhode Island Senate
Only 35 members present this day.

Sitting in the gallery waiting for the vote
Forefront Pawtucket Times Staff Photographer, Butch Adams

Standing: Scott Warren, the leader of the Darfur Activists for the Divestment Bill
Leaving after the vote was taken 33 - 0
with 2 abstaining

March 20, Tuesday, the Rhode Island Senate passed Senate Bill 87 - "Engagement and Targeted Divestment from Sudan", 33 to 0 with 35 Senators present. Senator Rhoda Perry, the bill's primary sponsor, spoke about the need to understand the genocide in Darfur, Sudan and take responsible action with the RI Pension Funds and divest from Sudan. Senator Perry thanked Brown University student Scott Warren, who is an activist with standnow.org and sudandivestment.org in regards to the four year old Darfur genocide, for his part in educating herself and other Senate members on this human dignity and human rights issue of genocide. Rhode Island General Treasurer Frank Caprio and the Senate Finance Committee were recognized as important supporters of this bill. Senator Gallo thanked the Brown University students for their concerted and diligent efforts in conjunction with bringing this needed action to the Senate members' attention and helping move this bill forward in their capacity as human rights champions.

Twenty Brown Universtiy students, plus three www.savedarfur.org RI constituents (I was one of the constituents) gathered at the State Capitol building at 3:00 p.m to prepare for lobbying the senators on Senate Bill 87, then sat in the gallery to watch the vote. The students meet weekly to discuss and plan their actions to end the Darfur genocide. April 23-29 are the dates of "Global Days for Darfur" with events to take place throughout the United States as well as around the world to keep Darfur front and center in our conscience and move our governments' actions and the international community into a more proactive gear. Amnesty International (www.amnestyusa.org) is asking citizens to lobby U.S. Senators and Representatives regarding the Darfur genocide during the week of April 9 - 13.

The next step in Rhode Island in regards to RI state pension funds and Sudan divestment is for the sister bill, House Bill 5142 to be voted upon. Following the potential passage of RI H 5142, Governor Donald L. Carcieri would have the option to sign the bill and have Rhode Island join the other states that have already moved on Sudanese targeted divestment in their states. States that have passed Sudan divestment bills are California, New Jersey, Oregon, Maine, Connecticutt and Vermont. The "targeted" model of divestment from Sudan, recently passed by California, is the model being considered in over 20 states, as well as dozens of universities and cities in the U.S. and abroad.

Of the 400+ international companies operating in Sudan, about two dozen are currently considered the "worst offending". Mainly these companies deal in oil, telecommunications or weapons industries. Seventy per cent of the Sudanese government's oil revenues are spent on defense. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report that these funds have been used to purchase expensive military equipment like the bombers and helicopters used against the civilians in Darfur over the last four years.

Many U.S. corporations, mutual funds and individuals are invested in foreign companies that operate in Sudan. The website www.sudandivestment.org/rhodeisland will email you a list of the "worst offending" companies and help those who don't want to aid the genocide by unknowingly fund the very crime against humanity that we have continually said these two words about: "Never Again".

Pick one of these and give a minimum of 10 minutes a week

toward ending the Darfur genocide.

Do it to make humanity better

· http://www.Savedarfur.org

· http://www.ajws.org/

· www.sudandivestment.org/

· http://www.genocideintervention.net/

· http://www.standnow.org/ (High School and College Students)

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