Local organizations will team up today for a series of events focused on the genocide in Darfur.
Over the next few days, “Ask Me About Sudan: Hear The Voices Of The Voiceless” will feature dancing, an African craft fair and several guest speakers. The event is helmed by the UCSB chapter of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur and the Coalition, a Santa Barbara City College-based group dedicated to anti-genocide efforts.
Today’s events include a special “Dance For Darfur” tonight at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, although there is no greek affiliation. Devon Chapman, a S.T.A.N.D. member and second-year psychology major, was confident that tonight’s event would receive significant support from concerned humanitarians.
“The dance is going to be a lot of fun, and a great way for people to easily contribute and donate money to help refugees,” Chapman said. “We’re going to have dancing, a DJ and tickets are $5 at the door.”
An African bazaar-style marketplace will be held Monday, Nov. 24. Scheduled to take place in Corwin Pavilion courtyard at 11 a.m. the craft fair will feature guest speakers, jewelry and other handsome goods. Proceeds from the craft market will be donated to three different organizations, S.T.A.N.D. Co-President and second-year religious studies major Sophie Meryash said.
“Money from the dance is going to the Genocide Intervention Network, which directly protects civilians in Darfur,” Meryash said. “For example, they give cooking utensils to female refugees so they don’t have to go out to find them and risk getting raped. We’re giving to S.E.L.F., Sudan Education for Liberty Foundation, which works to build primary and secondary schools in southern Sudan. And the last organization is called Network for Africa, which funds ongoing scholarship programs for genocide survivors.”
Three speakers are slated to attend Monday’s event, which will temporarily close the craft fair for a small portion of the day. Ted Braun, director of the award-winning 2007 documentary “Darfur Now,” will be speaking along with Adam Sterling, a fellow activist and actor in the film, and Nyuol Tong, a refugee from Darfur.
The anti-genocide events beginning on campus today aim to shed light on the crisis in Darfur, Meryash said.
“The goal of S.T.A.N.D. and the Coalition is to raise awareness and create social activism on campus,” she said.