Darfur activists support walk

By Jordan Gavens, Eli Haims and Meagan Wang

A delegation of students, many of them members of the Darfur Awareness and Activism Training Club, attended the fourth annual Walk to End Genocide on April 18.

The walk, organized by the Jewish World Watch, was “primarily to bring awareness about the voting [for the president and the National Assembly] this week in Darfur and Sudan […] and how it was rigged,” club co-president Jake Gutman ’10 said.

“The Walk to End Genocide is a one of a kind event,” Gutman said. “It is people gathering together with the common belief that human beings should not be killed or abused just because of their identity.”

Ruben Lopez ’10 was one of the students who attended the walk. “A highlight would be the drumming…they got random people to go up and drum to different beats, and ultimately produced quite a nice effect,” he said.

The walk raised more than $175,000 to purchase solar power cookers and fund the Sister School Program. Tracy McGrady of the Houston Rockets came up with the idea of the Sister School Program.

The Sister School Program strives toward providing an education for the Darfur Refugees by connecting American schools with 12 refugee camps in Chad.

Established in 2004, the JWW began as a Jewish response to atrocities committed against other human beings, working to educate synagogues, schools and communities about genocide and other violations of human rights. According to JWW, four hundred thousand citizens have been murdered so far in the genocide.

After hearing about the walk through JWW’s Youth Activism Training program, DAATC leaders hung posters around school and made a Facebook group to advertise it. Although most of the Harvard-Westlake participants were members of the club, a few found out about the walk through the posters and the Facebook group.

Before the walk, there were speeches by the heads of anti-genocide groups and refugees who emphasized the urgency of the situation.

“The highlight was hearing the leader of the Congalese Church of Southern California address all of the participants,” Glancy said. “Hearing someone who has so many connections to the atrocities happening in the Congo have so much passion and faith was inspiring.”

The participants followed a three-mile route starting and ending at the Warner Center Park in the San Fernando Valley. There were also displays set up inside a tent, each dedicated to a specific genocide, such as the Holocaust and Darfur.

“Each one is filled with pictures, memoirs, and facts from the genocide,” Glancy said. “Being surrounded by all of these things inside of a tent is an overpowering experience.”

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