John C. Davies/ AS Review
This fall, after writing a paper about the Darfur region of Sudan for an anthropology class called, “War and Human Rights,” Western senior Sheila Robinson, along with classmate McKenzie Miller, a junior, founded the Western chapter of STAND, a student anti-genocide group that raises awareness about genocide in Darfur.
The group, formerly known as Students Take Action Now: Darfur, acts as an umbrella group for over 600 colleges and high schools. The Western chapter has about ten regular members, most of which are from anthropology classes, Robinson said. On Feb. 24, the group will host its first event, a benefit concert in the Viking Union Multi-Purpose Room with performances by local bands No-Fi Soul Rebellion, The Love Lights, and Yes, Oh Yes.
In its only previous fundraiser, the group sold ‘Stop Genocide Now’ shirts on Vendors Row. Robinson said she was excited to host an event for the club.
“I am super stoked about it,” Robinson said. “It will be good not just for raising money but for spreading awareness about Darfur. It’s important to educate and get our government to take action.”
Since the genocide began four years ago, more than 400,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced, said communications coordinator of STAND, Scott Warren. Conflicts reached genocidal extent when marginalized rebel groups began an uprising in 2003. The Sudanese government responded by killing all the people in Darfur, Warren said.
The United Nations has called the genocide the worst atrocity in the world right now, Warren said. But though this is the first time the United States has ever declared, ‘genocide,’ the country and international community has done little to change the situation in Sudan, Warren said.
At the Feb. 24 show, the opening bands, The Love Lights and Yes, Oh Yes, will perform for free. The Western chapter hopes to have the other costs of the concert donated, which include paying No-Fi Soul Rebellion and event security. The show costs $5 for students and $10 for non-students. Event proceeds will be donated to Americares, a humanitarian group that will provide medical supplies to victims in Darfur, Robinson said.