Tuesday, December 4, 2007
The San Antonio Dream for Darfur Torch Relay, held Monday, Dec 3, sent a strong message to China that they need to hold up their promise of using the Olympics to help strengthen human rights. China needs to use its influence to help end the genocide in Darfur. See below for pictures from the event.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Join us for the San Antonio Dream for Darfur Torch Run, part of the International Dream for Darfur program. The event will be held Monday, December 3rd, beginning at 11:45 AM with a torch lighting at the entrance to Hemisfair Park on Alamo Street. There will be a short torch relay through Hemisfair Park, ending at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC). Join us at noon under the flags in front of the ITC where we will hear from a number of survivors of genocide and Olympian Liza Hunter-Galvan, along with Express-News columnist Cary Clack.
Email SAIDC@earthlink.net for more info or to volunteer. Not a boycott!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The San Antonio Interfaith Darfur Coalition (SAIDC) holds regular meetings and events to raise awareness and action to end the genocide. Join our email list from this page. Visit www.savedarfur.org for information about the national Save Darfur movement.
2. Contact your elected representatives.
Call 1-800 GENOCIDE to get legislative action alerts and contact your congress people to express your support for Darfur-related legislation. Go to www.genocideintervention.net or www.enoughproject.org for fact sheets and reports that help you understand the legislative issues.
3. Donate to humanitarian agencies operating in Darfur and Chad camps.
Please visit the International Medical Corps www.imcworldwide.org to learn more about their humanitarian work in Darfur and Chad.
4. Pressure China to end the violence in Darfur.
Dream for Darfur is organizing an Olympic Torch Relay from Darfur to Beijing and across the United States to galvanize public support around the world to exert pressure on China to stop the genocide in Darfur. Visit www.dreamfordarfur.org for more information. San Antonio event: December 3, 2007
5. Support the Sudan Divestment Movement.
Sudan relies heavily on foreign investment to fund its genocidal activity. Join the international movement to put economic pressure on the Sudanese government by divesting from companies that fund the Sudanese government’s military activities. Visit www.sudandivestment.org for more information.
6. Raise Awareness.
Small actions can make a big difference. Talk to people about what is happening in Darfur, have a dinner for Darfur (ask for donations for humanitarian aid), show the movie Hotel Rwanda, download resources from the internet and hand them out. Read the book Not on Our Watch by Don Cheadle and John Prendergast for more ideas. Be a voice for the people of Darfur.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I have witnessed so many deaths, but I am here to look you in the eye.
What do you see? What do I see?
My eyes are for seeing, I cannot turn away.
I look onto a world overflowing misery and pain, but I will not blink.
My view is timeless, I am here in the past, in the present, forever.
I look out as the winds of change bring new conquerors.
Always tracking in blood and destruction.
Who will witness when I am gone? Where is my legacy?
Tell the world to see us, to be with us for one hour.
Peek out behind half-closed lids, take in what you can and leave the rest.
I will stare truth in the eye for you, so that you may sleep for me.
Rosalyn Falcon Collier
August 4, 2007
Reflection on Darfur Photo Exhibit:
Looking Genocide in the Eye
at Viva! Art Gallery
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Smith and Ricci will also speak August 29 at 7:00 PM at University United Methodist Church.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
SUDAN DIVESTMENT LEGISLATION PASSES TEXAS HOUSE
“Stop the Darfur Genocide Act” Garners Unanimous Support
AUSTIN, TEXAS (May 15, 2007) – Senate Bill 247, the “Stop the Darfur Genocide Act”, passed the Texas House of Representatives unanimously today. The bill has already cleared the Texas Senate and is on its way to the Governor’s desk, pending a procedural vote tomorrow. Governor Perry endorsed the targeted divestment legislation in his inaugural address and State of the State speech.
The bipartisan legislation, led by Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale (R – Tomball) and Senator Rodney Ellis (D – Houston), has over 85 co-authors and enjoys tremendous support from both ends of the political spectrum. Religious conservatives and liberal activists found common ground and formed an alliance to pass the legislation in Texas. The bill is similar to legislation that has already passed in 12 states and is currently pending in 15 others.
SB 247 would require the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) and the Employee Retirement System of Texas (ERS) to engage and possibly divest from certain companies doing business in Sudan who substantially benefit the central government, provide little benefit to Sudan’s citizens, and who have failed to address their role in indirectly facilitating Sudan’s genocide.
With an approximate value of $426 million in targeted fund holdings, the financial impact of the divestment effort on the Sudanese government is substantial. The amount represents about 0.59% of the assets under management by ERS & TRS.
Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale said, “Texans spoke loud and clear today. We don't want our money being used to facilitate genocide. As compassionate human beings, we can no longer turn our back to the slaughter in Darfur.”
Mark Hanis, Executive Director of the Genocide Intervention Network, said, “today’s actions by the Texas House of Representatives, combined with overwhelming bi-partisan support for Senate Bill 247, establish the state of Texas as a leader in the fight against the first genocide of the 21st Century. Texans should be proud to help lead the world in making ‘Never Again’ a reality.”
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
What you can do:
1) Call the White House--
Read President Bush's Speech
2) Support divestment and learn what you can do to keep your money from funding the genocide:
Let Senator Cornyn know you support the
Ask Senator Hutchison to support the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act of 2007 (S. 831) introduced by Senator Cornyn.
Tell your state representative that you support Texas' divestment from companies doing business with the government of Sudan (HB 1569). Find your Representative
Learn more about divestment (and perhaps work to personally divest):
3) Contribute to humanitarian aid through the International Medical Corps--specify Chad/Darfur on the drop-down menu. Pictures of refugees on this page were taken at an IMC refugee camp in Chad.
4) Host a Gathering Against Genocide (GAG) in your home or at the San Antonio Holocaust Museum. These events are designed to educate others about what is happening in Darfur and spur them to action. You might show the movie Hotel Rwanda, then hold a letter writing session. Or, hold a "Dinner for Darfur" where you ask your guests for donations for humanitarian aid. There are endless opportunities for action. Be creative. The more people working to end this crisis, the more effective we will be.
5) If you are a gallery or restaurant owner or manager and would like to spread the word about Darfur, contact us about displaying photographs of refugees, taken by Caesar Ricci. We have framed, high-quality photographs ready for display. Help spread the word! Email SAIDC@earthlink.net for information.
6) Come to the next SAIDC meeting (May 22) to learn about what we have in the works, and contribute your ideas!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Darfur: A Plan to Stop Genocide
Lawrence Rossin from the Save Darfur Coalition was one of the speakers. His comments have good information on the latest thoughts from Save Darfur concerning what the US needs to be doing to help the people of Darfur.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I hate to admit that I have always been uneasy writing letters to my congressional representatives. I felt like it was a somewhat worthless activity that would not make a difference, especially when my view differed strongly from that of my representative. However, I have had a change of heart after attending a session at the Genocide Prevention Advanced Leadership Summit at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. One of the sessions leaders in a workshop I attended is a former congressional staffer and he had great insight in to how this process works. Some of you probably already know about this, but for the uninformed (like me!) I offer the following:
Congressional staffers are busy, busy, busy, however, they are interested in meaningful dialogue. Advocates who are effective are the ones who can get their paper pushed to the top of the stack. How to do that?
-Prove that we are trustworthy and reasonable.
-Suggest actions that are specific and achievable--give them somewhere to go
-Represent more than yourself (show that you are part of a group of people)
-Follow-up! This is important. If you talk with a staffer, follow-up with a letter. Ask for a response to your issue and a "thank you" for their time.
-Never be afraid to communicate! While "blitz" campaigns where tons of letters are sent on the same topic in a short-period of time can have an impact, it is the week-by-week letters on the same issue that have the biggest impact.
This last point was a theme throughout the Summit. I heard from many people representing many different organizations that we need to build a coalition of genocide prevention that will last long past Darfur. Small efforts over the long-haul are needed to keep our activism meaningful. I think this is such an important point. I think that sometimes people feel like the little they are doing does not matter that much, so they stop doing it. That is simply not true. The little things are in many ways what matter the most. A speaker from a humanitarian aid group said that they love the $5 donations they get as much as the huge grants. It all ultimately matters. So, keep writing those letters, sending those donations, making those phone calls. We can make a difference. Do not let the bad news you read about Darfur cause you to lose hope. Keep thinking about the individuals, people like Mohamed and Omar and Clementine (see previous post) and remember they are the ones we are doing this for. Focus on the one person you can help today. To them, whatever you do will matter.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Commenting on the international community waiting on Sudan to give permision to place a UN Peacekeeping Force in to Darfur, Mohamed Yahya of Darfur had this to say:
"You are waiting for Hitler to give permission to free the Jews."
Omar Ismail, also of Darfur, offered us this thought as a way to stay motivated:
"What can you do today to make the life of one person in Darfur better?"
I think this is such an important thought to keep in mind. It can be overwhelming to think of helping all the people of Darfur and even more so to think of helping all the people in the world who need us. Focus on one person a day.
The Summit ended with nineteen year old Clementine Wamariya of Rwanda telling her story of escape from genocide when she was only six (read her story here Clementine's Story.) She is a wonderful story-teller and gave a heart-wrenching account of her escape with her older sister and the loss of family and friends along the way. After experiencing horrors that no person, much less a child, should have to go through they made it to Burundi, where they were taken in by a farmer and his family. Clementine, who had come for a fairly well-off family. had this to say of her stay with them:
"They lived in a mud hut, they were very poor, no electricity, it was hot. It was the best life anyone could have, because they were alive and loved one another."
Typing these words brought tears to my eyes. I hope they have touched you in a similar way.
Friday, March 23, 2007
World Affairs Council: "Surviving a Genocide: The Darfur Refugee Experience," with Caesar Ricci On April 9
Shaken by the humanitarian crisis that has engulfed the Darfur region of the Sudan since government-backed militias began to carry out organized campaigns of murder, rape and economic destruction against the black African population there, student activist Caesar Ricci has travailed for the past four years to bring some relief to those most affected. With the conflict now spreading to nearby Chad, Mr. Ricci visited the Gaga Refugee Camp on the Chadean border to witness the horror and pain first-hand. With photographs documenting the experience, Mr. Ricci will tell of what has and can be done to end what President Bush has called the first genocide of the twenty-first century.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
April 17, 7:00-9:00 PM, University Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. Looking Genocide Victims in the Eyes. Caesar Ricci recently traveled to eastern Chad to visit Darfurians living in refugee camps. Come to see the photographs and videos he took during his journey and learn about practical and effective ways to help the people of Darfur and eastern Chad in their struggle to survive ethnic cleansing. The event will include information about how people can help politically and with humanitarian aid.
April 28, 7:00-8:00 PM, Oak Hills Community Church, Floresville. Time is Running Out. An evening of prayer, information and action. Learn about how you can help people living in refugee camps. Participate in a Die-In to represent those who an no longer speak the truth of their suffering. Event includes music from Dana Clark, Kevin Lewis, Richard Mekdeci, Sarah Mueller, and Sarah and Hannah Kane. Speakers include Ellie Pavliska, Caesar Ricci, Susan Smylie, and Sasha Stinner-Trimble. A silent auction will raise funds for those living in the refugee camps (to donate items to the silent auction, email firstname.lastname@example.org) The event will end with the opportunity to write letters to elected officials concerning divestment and the need for a UN Peacekeeping force. Sponsored by Heart Corps for Darfur, a local teen action group founded by Ellie Pavliska.
Click on SAIDC Events for location information.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Cornyn Divestment Press Release
Cornyn's website also added "Darfur" to his list of issues that people can send him messages about. This is great news and evidence that our efforts truly do make a difference. Let's continue to let our legislators know we want action in support of Darfur!
If you are following the Texas Divestment campaign, you probably already know that SB 247 unanimously passed out-of-committee. Gov. Rick Perry has come out in support of this bill. Let's keep the pressure on and make divestment a reality in Texas! See the February 6 post below for links to sample letters and other information about the divestment campaign.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
This hearing is crucial to getting the bill out of committee and voted on by the Senate.
Watch it live on the Senate website: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/bin/live.php
Senate Bill 247 by Senator Rodney Ellis (D - Houston)
Senate Committee on Government Organization
11:00 am - Monday, March 12th
Darfur/ Darfur Photo Exhibition at the Texas Capitol
Also, if you are in or around Austin on Monday, check out Brian Steidle's photo exhibit, Darfur/ Darfur. Darfur/ Darfur is a collection of photos taken by Brian while a photographer with the African Union in 2003. The exhibition, a haunting eye-witness account of genocide and has toured across the world. This is the only time it will be in Texas, so please check it out if you can! http://www.darfurdarfur.org/
Friday, March 9, 2007
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Buena Vista Building Theater
University of Texas at San Antonio - Downtown Campus
501 West Durango Boulevard, San Antonio
For more information:
A Conversation with Doctors Without Borders
MSF/Doctors Without Borders won the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize and has an "A" rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. According to their web site, they have over 2,000 staff members working at 17 locations in Darfur, and their 2006 budget for Darfur was 25 million dollars.
This event will launch the HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere) Music Campaign for Darfur, promote the film's premiere, honor Global Grassroots' work in Africa, and endorse the TX divestment legislation. www.hopemusicfund.org.
Annie Sundberg, email@example.com, 917-687-3712
Gretchen Wallace, firstname.lastname@example.org, 603-359-0177
THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK, a Break Thru Films production in association with Global Grassroots and Three Generations will enjoy its regional premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX on Sunday, March 11th. The film tells the story of an American witness to the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Directed, written and produced by award winning filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, The Devil Came on Horseback is also produced by Gretchen Steidle Wallace and Jane Wells. Screening times:
Sunday, March 11th, 9:30pm at ALAMO LAMAR 2
Tuesday, March 13th, 1:45pm at ALAMO LAMAR 2
About the Film
This feature-length documentary film chronicles the horror of the Darfur genocide as seen through the eyes of a lone American witness. Brian Steidle, a former U.S. Marine Captain, was hired in 2004 as one of only three Americans to serve as an un-armed military observer for the African Union in Darfur. During the height of the conflict, he captured nearly 1000 photographs in areas inaccessible to journalists. Without a mandate to protect civilians nor the directive to fight back, Brian resigned and returned to the U.S. to expose what he witnessed, despite threats to his life. This compelling film bears witness to unmentionable atrocities while celebrating the courage of a population desperately trying to survive. Learn more: www.thedevilcameonhorseback.com
Global Grassroots is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded by producer Gretchen Steidle Wallace, which offers training and seed funding to help disadvantaged women advance social change. In 2005, Global Grassroots initiated its work in the Darfur refugee camps of Eastern Chad. A portion of proceeds from the film The Devil Came on Horseback will go to Global Grassroots to help Darfur refugees rebuild their lives. www.globalgrassroots.org
Three Generations was founded by freelance writer and producer Jane Wells to help survivors of genocide, raise awareness of present and future threats and try and make sure that "never again" becomes more than an empty promise. www.threegenerations.org
Monday, March 5, 2007
March 7, 2007
Austin, TX (Capitol)
Tell your Texas legislators you don't want your state to fund Genocide!
Hosted by the UT White Rose Society and the Sudan Divestment Task Force- TX Campaign
Contact: Leran Minc, UT White Rose Society
10a.m. Meet at Texas Hillel (21st and San Antonio) to go over divestment and activities of the day. If you can make this, please please do it will be an important training to get you prepared for the day. **If you can't, tell Leran so he can help you be ready to lobby**
After lunch until 3ish- Capitol--we will carpool to save parking costs, but if you have to come late call Leran 214 675 3002 when you get there and he'll come find you.
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
What is the What? by Dave Eggers
(Lost boys of southern Sudan--fiction)
Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo
(Aid workers in southern Sudan--fiction)
"The Devil Came on Horseback" (documentary film)
(Based on experiences of Brian Steidle in Darfur)
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
The Texas legislation calls for a "targeted divestment" model which focuses only on companies that provide revenue to the Government of Sudan and do not substantially benefit the Sudanese people.
70-80% of Sudan's revenues from foreign investment go to its military--by putting economic and political pressure on these companies to pull out of Sudan, we can impact the Sudanese government's ability to fund the genocide.
To date, six states, five cities, and over 30 colleges and universities have approved restrictions on their Sudan-linked investments. Twenty states (including Texas) will consider targeted divestment legislation in 2007.
Both the International Crisis Group and Human Rights Group have recommended economic santions to help resolve the crisis in Darfur.
Help Texas take a stand for Darfur!
Please write, call, and visit with your state legislators.
Senate Bill: Information and Talking Points
House Bill:Information and Talking Points
Find your Representatives!
Learn More: Texas Divestment Campaign
Learn more: Divestment Movement
Get Involved! Contact SAIDC
Monday, February 5, 2007
And learning what action it takes to stop it
A two part series on “Understanding Sudan” will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27 and Feb. 28 at University Presbyterian Church, 300 Bushnell (corner of Shook and Bushnell, one block west of Trinity University.)
7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27
“Bearing Witness: Crisis in Darfur” with Ruth Messinger, president of American Jewish World Service.
Messinger will bring the latest information about recent events in Darfur, the urgency of the situation and efforts which have been made to bring this genocidal situation to the world’s attention.
7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28
“The Lessons of the World's Longest Civil War: Southern Sudan” with Bobbie-Frances McDonald, founder of the Sudan Advocacy Action Forum.
McDonald will provide important background information about Southern Sudan and the connections with the ongoing Darfur genocide. She will explore the problems facing southerners today and why this is relevant to Darfur's future.
Ruth W. Messinger is the president of American Jewish World Service, an international development organization providing support to 300 grassroots social change projects throughout the world. Prior to assuming this role in 1998, Ms. Messinger was in public service in New York City for 20 years. In honor of her tireless work to end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, Ruth Messinger received an award from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs in February 2006. In tribute to her life’s work, she was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Hebrew Union College in 2005. For the past six years, she has been named one of the 50 most influential Jews of the year by the Forward.
Bobbie-Frances McDonald is the founder of Sudan Advocacy Action Forum, (www.sudanadvocacy.com), a grassroots effort endorsed by the Presbyterian Church (USA), and committed to educating people about the crisis in Sudan and informing them of ways they can support efforts for a just and lasting peace for all Sudanese.
McDonald has traveled extensively to Sudan over the past 7 years. She is part of the Darfur Advocacy Network via Action by Churches Together (ACT) and Caritas. In September, 2006 she traveled to Khartoum representing Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Her work is at the local, national, and international levels.