Commitment and ACTION

At the end of writing this I realized I had started a short diatribe, and so if you don’t get to the end, I thought I would add the punch line here: Even though i-ACT5 did not make it into the camps, PLEASE, for all the innocent civilians caught in this crisis, CONTINUE EACH DAY TAKING ACTION FOR DARFUR.As we walk to UNHCR for our usual Suzanne check-in, I begin to think about commitment and what it means to me. In this situation, a person’s commitment is only as strong as their personal threshold for stress. There is a point when that commitment is interrupted. This is not to say that the obstacles that we have faced this trip have weakened my commitment, I just wonder what my personal threshold is, and why it is different from other peoples. Since I studied sociology, what situations, people, environments and institutions contributed to my personality in such a way that created my strong commitment to equality, justice, and moreover the believe that every person has a right to choose their own future?

If anything being caught here, once again, in Chad while rebels scurry from town to town in an attempt to dislodge their President, has reaffirmed by commitment to this work. During this crucial time when media focuses on self-reporting from rebel and government leaders and makes heroes out of UN forces, the innocent civilians are those who are most affected, and the ones given the least amount of voice. Not only the refugees who probably relived their own villages destruction during all of this, but the regular Chadian who has the market stall, or the mother who cares for her children. These are the innocents. But, they are also the disposables to so many people. Their stories are not told. The voices muted by those with fancy titles and positions of power.

For now, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is Chad-Darfur. But all over the world live the voiceless. But they are only voiceless because of those who turn a deaf ear. They have a story, and an opinion. They are knowledgeable beyond comprehension in survival, and culture. They are very much alive here, and in the Congo, Burma, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Columbia, and all over the world.

We can give their voice meaning in our lives, and our neighbors, and their neighbors, and then, through our mutual commitment, begin to live in a global community.

I can’t imagine turning back to the life I lived before activism. My life had very little meaning outside of myself. It is also hard for me to imagine doing anything else with my life than what I am doing at this very moment. Many people ask me what I am going to do next, as if I was working towards a different job title or occupation. But this is it. For the rest of my life, in whatever capacity, I am committed to work for the voice of the people to be respected and heard.

I don’t think it would be fair to ask the same thing of you, but I do want to ask you, that even though i-ACT5 has not been the usual i-ACT, you are still the same committed i-ACTivist, and you can still take action, everyday for the people of Darfur.

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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8 Responses to “Commitment and ACTION”
  1. cory says:

    Hey KTJ,

    Nice thoughts on commitment. I must say it is the committed individuals like yourself that inspire me to keep working for peace and equality and not get selfishly “burnt-out” (though it tends to happen from time to time)

    Keep it up! (I know I don’t have to tell you twice)

    -Cory

    • Katie-Jay says:

      CP, my man!
      I am so glad to you have you part of our team at SGN. Without you we would not be able to expand and take on new projects in order to ensure that the people’s voices are very much at the surface of life and in the hearts of so many. I know these nights and days, for that matter, are long, and I appreciate you sticking with us through it all. I am glad that I can offer inspiration!!
      Talk soon, stateside!
      paz, ktj

  2. Leah says:

    I feel like we share the same brain :)
    Wish I was there. Let me know if I can ever take part in what you guys are doing. Ironically, I just posted an update with similar thoughts yesterday.
    We stand in alliance and we never stop fighting.
    Wishing strength for you today and the self-assuredness that you are making a difference.
    I will be sharing some of your comments in today’s update.
    Keep them coming!
    Leah
    http://www.betheirmessenger.org

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Thank you, Leah!
      It’s always great to meet another you is committed to bringing the voice of the innocent civilians to the surface of society. Now that we are in the capital, and have free wifi at the hotel I am checking out your website! Please feel free to use our pictures and stories to spread to your community or use on your site. We have lots more also. You can also email me at ktj@stopgenocidenow.org and we can talk more about how we can work together to spread their stories!
      peace, ktj

  3. Diane Gandee Sorbi says:

    Hi Katie-Jay, Gabriel, Colin, and Scott,

    I can only begin to imagine the frustration you all must be feeling right now. But even if you don’t make it to the camps this time, you tried the best you could, and you are doing far more than most people would attempt. It’s such a shame that after all these years, the situation there is becoming even more unstable. I hope and pray one day soon you will be able to visit the people you have met back in their homeland. I will try to raise awareness whenever and wherever I can.

    Take good care of yourselves.

    Diane

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Thank you Diane for following our trip this time. Although we did not make it to the camps, it is my hope that i-ACTivists realize that the Darfur conflict has reached it’s neighboring countries, and that the situation is, as you said, deteriorating rather than getting better. As we talk, innocent people are dying. As Khartoum puts rebel forces on trial for attacking the capital rather than turning over their own murderers, Darfur is bombed, again and again. Civilians move from one unsafe camp to the next one, sometimes making it across the border. I too hope that one of these i-ACTs will be returning to Darfur.

      Thank you for your strength and action,
      ktj

  4. Barbara Scott says:

    Hi Katie-Jay
    Excellent thoughts and writing. I understand your commitment. Love to you. Grammie

  5. Katie-Jay says:

    Hi Grammie!
    I love you love you love you! I know it is hard for you to follow my journey out here, but I assure I am safe and on a flight out of here this evening.

    This trip has been a hard one in that I didn’t get to hold the hands of any of my beloved friends whose lives exist within the confines of camps and tents. I know how much our presence brings them hope, and I know they will survive another few months until we can make it back to them, I just feel in some way that I have disappointed them. Or maybe it is that I feel I have let them down, or myself down. I know I could not have controlled any of it, but I feel sad leaving today.

    Anyways, thank you for all your STRENGTH in sticking by me and Isaac, and Cristie, by all of your daughters, no matter how hard it has been over the years.

    You are my hero.
    forever and ever my grammie you’ll be, ktj

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