When Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) visited Howard University Tuesday to speak at the last event in a series entitled “Future of the Democratic Party” hosted by the school’s College Democrats organization, she urged students to get involved in the genocide crisis going on in Darfur, Sudan as soon as possible.
Congresswoman Lee who just came back from a visit to Darfur described the place like this: “It’s 180 degrees outside. Children are as dusty as dusty can be, looking almost like a sandstorm themselves. There is limited food. Cattle being killed. There are women who are scared to even admit that they have been raped. There are actual bombings of villages.”
Congresswoman Lee told the students to mobilize into a large group and go protest in front of the Sudanese Embassy. However, she did warn the students to not stand on the embassy’s property because that will equate to trespassing, which is a felony. So she suggested for students to protest on the sidewalk across the street.
“It would be great for us students to get involved but I also know that a lot of us are busy,” said Jan Mitchell a Howard student majoring in Anthropology, “Many students don’t read about what’s going on in the world, so this issue will have to first be brought to their attention and then we’ll have to go from there.”
Howard students like Mckenzie Price and Steve Williams, who are both seniors majoring in Anthropology, have tried to address this problem by starting the Howard University chapter of S.T.A.N.D (Students Take Action Now: Darfur) in January of this year.
Price said that “The tsunami had just happened and I knew the conflict in Darfur was going on but still the tsunami was being given more of a preference in the media. I felt that I had more of an opportunity as a college student to make a change as oppose to five years ago when the Rwanda crisis was going on.”
Price also got Morehouse College to start a chapter and said that her ultimate goal is to collaborate with other HBCUs to get more students aware of the problem and to create a pamphlet on how to attack large scale issues like this one.
Congresswoman Lee said that two and half billion people have been displaced in the Sudan due to civil war. Earlier Kareem Redmond, a College Democrat member, said that 400 villages had been destroyed and that there has been no intervention from the United Nations because they claim they don’t have the power to send a military force but to observe only.
Yet, Congresswoman Lee believes that an outside military group doesn’t need to be sent but instead the UN or the United States should give humanitarian aid to the African Union troops because they are ready to fight. She also feels that the United States should divest all funds from Africa and airlift the people from Sudan to a safer place.