Yesterday, hundreds gathered in front of the White House to 'Honor the Past' and to 'Act NOW for Darfur.' Survivors from past and current genocides and mass atrocities, including Darfur, South Sudan, Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, the Holocaust, and Armenia, joined together with faith leaders, leading anti-genocide advocates, and local activists; united. And as we stood there among those whose very lives speak to the world's failure to uphold its sacred promise of never again, we couldn't help but wonder how many more years we will have to gather to remind ourselves and others to 'Act NOW for Darfur?'
Stella Kojo Kenyi, Sister Schools Program Coordinator, Enough Project
301-919-0588, in Chicago
Ethan Barhydt, Founder, Youth United for Darfur, Chicago
847-494-2629, in Chicago
Eileen White Read, 202-741-6376, in Washington, Enough Project
RELEASE: Chicago Youth Rally Raises $16,000 For Darfuri Refugee Camp Schools and Illinois Sudanese Community Center
CHICAGO, IL - Youth United for Darfur, a coalition of 40 Chicago youth and student groups, announced at its rally, concert, and art exhibit here for Darfur that $16,000 had been raised by 27 Chicago schools and universities for the Enough Project’s Sister Schools Program and the Sudanese Community Center, Naperville, IL.
Enough’s Sister Schools Program is an innovative initiative to provide a quality education to Darfuri children living in refugee camps in eastern Chad, and to connect American middle schools, high schools, and universities to the Darfuri refugee camp schools through video blogging and letter exchanges. The program’s coordinator, Stella Kenyi, is a native of Sudan.
The April 19 events at Federal Plaza included an address by U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,) a longtime supporter of the Sudanese people. Music was provided by the bands Company of Thieves, The Hood Internet, Scott Lucas of the band Local H, and Paul Green’s School of Rock Music. The event also featured a display of artwork by children who were victims of violence in Darfur and photographs of members of the Sudanese Community Center.
Other speakers at the event included: Mohamed Abdelrhman Kauda, President of the Darfur Association in Illinois; Reverend LaDonna M. Sanders of the South Africa Ubuntu Project; Harold Rogers of the Chicago Black Trade Unionists; Morgan Leek of Metro; Deng, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan; and Ashal Yai, a Sudanese student and poet.
Youth United for Darfur’s founder, Ethan Barhydt, issued a call to the Obama administration to take swift action to promote peace and justice in Darfur. “We want people to see the power of student voice – the fact that teenagers organized this event and brought people together and got politicians to notice says a lot. We truly do have a voice in this country, and I think it's important that we continue to use it as the situation in Darfur deteriorates,” he said. Mr. Barhydt, a senior at Deerfield High School, has been active in the Darfur movement since he was in seventh grade and created Youth United for Darfur last year.
Event sponsors included the American Jewish World Service, Amnesty International, the Enough Project, the Save Darfur Coalition, and STAND, the student anti-genocide coalition.