Junior hosts documentary screening

Shelby Layne ’09, founder of the Darfur Awareness and Activism Training Club, hosted a charity screening of “The Devil Came on Horseback,” a documentary on the genocide in Darfur, at Universal Studios last Saturday. The event successfully raised over $14,000 for the Solar Cooker Project of Jewish World Watch, which benefits women in Darfur.

“The Devil Came on Horseback” revolves around photographic journalist and former U.S. Marine Captain Brian Steidle’s experiences and observations while on duty in Sudan. It aims to raise awareness on the ongoing war and genocide in Darfur.

“[It] is a highly informative and inspirational film, that I believe ought to be viewed by all,” Layne said. “Through this, I hope that people were able to gain a deeper understanding of the current situation in Darfur and what can be done to help stop the atrocities occurring there.”

The award-winning documentary has received critical praise from many reviewers including the New York Times, which wrote, “Brutal, urgent, devastating… “The Devil Came on Horseback” demands to be seen as soon as possible and by as many viewers as possible.”

Layne said she had envisioned the possibility of screening Steidle’s documentary since meeting him last year, and spent several months planning the event.

She decided to donate the proceeds to the Solar Cooker Project, which provides solar-powered stoves to families in refugee camps. This benefits women by serving as a source of revenue (the women manufacture the solar cookers themselves), and more importantly, eliminating the need for them to leave the protection of their camps and risk being raped or abused.

“I believe that women deserve the right to maintain their dignity and to not be shamed by the actions of sexual violence and beating by Janjaweed militiamen,” Layne said.

Layne’s club, the Darfur Awareness and Activism Training Club, is one of several Activism Certification Training programs implemented by the organization Jewish World Watch in high schools throughout Los Angeles.