STUDENTS LEADING THE WAY ON CAPITOL HILL TODAY - NOVEMBER 9, 2009
Today, a comment waited for my moderating to be posted at one of my past blog post. I have copied the comment below my introductory remarks, here.
I have been an activist to prevent and end genocide since 2004. And because I believed Presidential candidate, Barack Obama meant what he said in regards to Darfur, for the first time in my relatively long life, I went outside my comfort zone to knock on doors and phone bank for him last year. And during that time, was asked to introduce Senator John Kerry to other Obama for America volunteers in the Newport Obama campaign office during Rhode Island's primary. Most of what I said that day was how impressed I was and am with the young people of today. To those jammed into the small office space, I related my experience of the young people that I worked under and with in New Hampshire the week running up to that state's primary. How so impressed I was with the young people's organizing skills, patience, maturity, diligence and dedication. And how proud I was to work along side them. I know this meant a lot to at least one of the volunteers that day, because after he came up to me and told me so with so much appreciation in his body language that someone felt this way and said so. Barack Obama could not have been elected without the work, energy and dedication of the young people.
And I say the same things about the issue of preventing and ending genocide. There a lot of us in the older generation...I grew up in the 1960's, who work on this issue, but there are a lot of college and high school (and junior high) students who have been dedicated to this issue. They are in the forefront of activism to make sure that NEVER AGAIN is not a phrase we haul out at the end of a period of ethnic murders, maiming, rape victims to diffuse our guilt of not acting when the need was there earlier.
Perpetrating and allowing genocide is the ugliest behavior that we as forces of nature have turned our backs on and ignored since before the word genocide was formed to describe murder by association to a group of human beings.
Wrong One For The Job
I have said the United States Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, is the wrong person for the job and needs to be replaced ever since the first weeks of his appointment by President Obama on March 18, 2009. The Darfuri refugees and Sudanese dispora haved called for General Gration to be removed.
Post: The New Republic: Fire Our Darfur Envoy Now can be found at www.npr.org
I am a signatory to the Open Letter Sent to Sudan Special Envoy Scott Gration by Sudan Advocates From the U.S., Darfuri Dispora, and Southern Sudan
Read at allafrica.com
The Comment I Promised
I get so few comments. And it is an honor to repost this one.
At November 9, 2009 1:52:00 PM EST , Ashley Patterson said...
Today, over 800 student activists converged on Capitol Hill for the largest lobby day to prevent genocide in history.
The students were marching to the Hill at 8:30am to meet with their elected officials and to push Congress to implement the recommendations of the Genocide Prevention Task Force (GPTF) report. As part of an innovative partnership between STAND, the student led division of the Genocide Intervention Network, and WITNESS, the international human rights organization that pioneered video advocacy, the student activists collected 500 video messages from their student body and community. For the first time, these messages were edited to create individual videos for Senators, which the students began hand-delivering to them this morning. View personalized videos for Senators: hub.witness.org/STAND-STUDENT-VIDEOS
With this campaign we are seeing the ‘YouTube generation’ in action – and today, we're seeing them change how citizens are lobbying Congress. Less than a month after the Obama administration unveiled the Sudan policy review, these students are reminding their elected officials and President Obama of the moral and political imperative to bring peace in Sudan today and ensure that other similar conflicts don't occur in the future. End of comment
Today, hundreds of activists are converging on Capitol Hill for the largest lobby day in the history of the anti-genocide movement. The lobby day and protest/rally caps off the last day of the Pledge2Protect conference. The central advocacy goals of today’s lobby day are support for measures aimed to enhance civilian protection in the focus areas and to push Congress to implement the recommendations of the Genocide Prevention Task Force (GPTF) report.
As part of this lobby day, activists from all over the country have prepared video appeals to their lawmakers to reinforce the message that their constituents favor strong action on genocide prevention. A few of the videos can be viewed here.
To view the press release, click here.
Source for post below: standnow.org/blog/pledge2protect-making-history
I have been to A LOT of of STAND conferences - no surprise since I first got involved in STAND in 2006, way back when I was a junior at Northwestern University in Chicago. Back then, STAND was a start-up run by students who were on fire about ending genocide, but who often didn't have the resources we needed to coordinate large-scale national events. Sitting here today, just three years later, it's crazy and inspiring to think about the differences. Pledge2Protect, which is a collaborative effort between STAND, STAND's parent organization Genocide Intervention Network, Save Darfur, Enough, US Campaign for Burma, and many more, demonstrates the strength and coordination of our movement. In just three years, we've grown and come together in ways I never would have thought possible when I was a student back in Chicago.
Of course, for a cause as urgent as ours, three years seems like an eternity. But let's take a moment to think about our beginnings...
In 2005, "genocide" was not considered a contemporary issue, but one of the past - Rwanda, the Holocaust - things to be memorialized, mourned and remembered, but not actively acted upon. Samantha Power wrote a book, called "A Problem from Hell," decrying the lack of an "anti-genocide constituency." Because there was none, she argued, genocide and mass atrocities had been allowed to unfold. If one could be built, she hypothesized, genocide in the future could be stopped and even prevented. The idea that Americans would rally to a cause thousands of miles from their own doorstep seemed a bit farfetched to many readers.
It's 2009, and 1,000 people are descending on the Capitol Hill to ensure their voices - and their commitment to ending genocide - registers in the halls of power. More than 1,000 active STAND chapters exist on high school and college campuses worldwide. Our president and Secretary of State have committed to fighting genocide with "unflinching resolve." Members of his senior team, including Samantha Power and Special Envoy to Sudan Scott Gration are hosting a meeting with STAND's Student Director, Layla Amjadi later this week. In three years, have we succeeded at bringing peace to Sudan? No. But we have made unprecedented leaps and bounds towards building a permanent anti-genocide constituency - and thereby, a world without genocide. It will be a long, hard fight, and this weekend we are going to learn more about the challenges we face in Darfur, Congo, Burma and elsewhere around the globe. But we can't forget where we came from just a few years ago, and what we have been able to build with our passion for justice, peace, and protection.
Read the article at www.voanews.com
USE YOUR VOICE
TO CALL UPON OUR LEADERS
TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT
ABOUT SOMETHING THAT IS VERY WRONG
No More Empty Promises
We are visitors on this planet.
We are here for ninety or one hundred years
at the very most.
During that period,
we must try to do something good,
something useful, with our lives.
If you contribute to other people’s happiness,
You will find the true goal, the true meaning of life.
H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama
GENOCIDE WILL STOP WITH US
"The Most Important Office is That of Private Citizen"
Louis D. Brandeis
Comments to President Obama:
202-456-1111 or 1-800-GENOCIDE
Join the Fast for Darfuris
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed people could change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Help - Use Your Voice
NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE
Add Your Voice to Prevent Genocide