Jacqui Sands ’09 is on a mission: to turn international attention to the genocide in Darfur so that the atrocities can be stopped.
“I want to do what I can to spread the word, in hopes of sparking action amongst Americans,” she said. “It has been hushed and put aside by the media and our government, but I want this to be reversed, raising awareness and activism. Genocide is not something of the past: it is real and occurring right under our noses, but I also want people to know that there is still time for us to affect decision making that will ultimately save lives.”
On the Hobart and William Smith campus Sands is not alone. She says students have responded eagerly to her plea, filling the vans designated to take them to the rally in New York City on Sunday.
Sands hopes that catalyzing the student body will help bring much-need attention to the issue: “It is one of the only ways that this issue will get its proper recognition, both on campus and on the national level,” she said.
“The purpose of this rally, and mainly why we are all going, is to both raise awareness, and to call for UN peacekeeping forces immediately. We want to turn words and writing into action and troops on the ground, fighting a fight for people who are begging for help.”
This year’s rally is a follow-up to similar events last year, where HWS students attended rallies in Rochester and Washington, D.C. The events featured speakers such as “survivors of the Genocide in Darfur, survivors of the Holocaust, famous actors and politicians” said Sands. “It was a huge success — but the fight is not yet over.”
“Raise your Voice: Save Darfur Now,” a benefit concert and rally, will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 in the East Meadow of Central Park, New York City. A bus and a school van, as well as student-driven cars, will leave the Colleges early that morning; those interested may drive in private cars to the rally. Interested parties may contact Sands for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Young Memorial Trust for International Peace and Understanding funded the majority of the trip, along with help from the Religious Studies program, Professor Michael Dobkowski, Progressive Student Union and Hillel.
More information about the rally, and ongoing efforts to address the problems in Darfur, can be found at www.savedarfur.org.