STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition, voted last year's AS Club of the Year, is keeping up its tradition of hard work. The coalition has teamed up with Bob's Burgers and Brew to create “Dine for Darfur.”
This Tuesday, Bob's will be donating 10 percent of all its proceeds to aid the refugee camps set up for displaced Darfurians who are fleeing genocide in their homeland, said Sheila Robinson, STAND co-coordinator and Western student. Currently two camps in Farchana and Kounoungo only have primary schools available for their children, she said. The money raised will fund secondary education in the camps.
STAND was co-founded last fall by Western student Mackenzie Miller and Robinson. This year student Lacey Rojas also co-coordinates. The group is one chapter of a national student coalition to end genocide. Last year they kept themselves busy, putting on a Darfur benefit concert featuring local bands No-Fi Soul Rebellion, Yes Oh Yes, and The Lovelights. They also set up “Camp Darfur” outside the Humanities building. This event included a series of tent displays showing pictures and histories of past and present genocide. They also sold t-shirts, showed “Hotel Rwanda” and held a forum with a panel of Darfur experts.
According to http://www.standnow.org, STAND's official Web site, the genocide in Darfur started in 2003 and has taken as many as 400,000 lives, and displacing more than 2.5 million people.
It started when two Darfurian rebel groups, frustrated with political and economic marginalization by the government, rose against Sudan's capital, Khartoum.
The Sudanese government responded with a scorched-earth campaign against the civilians of Darfur, claiming it was putting down the rebel forces. The government also enlisted the help of Janjaweed, or militia drawn from Arab tribes of the area. The Janjaweed have perpetrated rape, mass murder, organized starvation and displacement upon Darfurians as well as threatening aid workers, according to the Web site.
Generally the Sudanese government uses air attacks against the Darfurian civilians and then the Janjaweed come in on horseback to kill the survivors, dump bodies in the wells, and destroy the rest of the area, Miller said. Increasingly the Arab militia has been encouraged to take over these areas, displacing the original residents, Miller said.
The club is sending letters to memebers of the Senate urging them to support the Sudan Authorization and Divestment Act (SADA), Miller said. This bill would put economic pressure on the Sudanese government by authorizing states to divest from companies supporting Sudan. It also expands federal level divestment and prohibits future state and federal contracts with states that support the Sudanese government.
On Dec. 5, STAND will take part in a national event called DarfurFast, Robinson said. The club will be in the Viking Union Lobby asking students to give up one luxury item, such as coffee, for the day and instead donate that money to STAND. These funds will help protect displaced women and girls who are exposed to rape and attack by militia as they gather firewood for cooking, Miller said. Just three dollars can help protect one woman for a year, Robinson said.