I have been organizing and hosting Darfur events and action campaigns since I first heard Ruth Messinger from AJWS speak at Portland State University in Spring 2005. I have been traveling with Camp Darfur since September 2007. I can’t even count how many presentations I’ve given or conversations I’ve had over these years. Like many, I am tired and I wish I didn’t have to give anymore because peace and justice have reached our friends. Last Friday I rediscovered why I do what I do.
So often I tell people that I continue to take action for the people of Darfur, but I also continue this work to empower the next generation of leaders to take control of their future and the future of our world. The students at Vaughn International Studies Academy in Pacoima, CA reminded me that Camp Darfur still has the intense impact to inspire an entire school and move them to action.
Students ran the entire day. They had prepared for 6 weeks. Putting together slideshow presentations for Armenia, Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur and food rations. Each group gave 5-6 presentations each period for 5 periods. One student, Oscar, took on the role of explaining the panels with drawings from Darfur children of the attacks on their villages. He poured his heart out and brought me to tears. He got everyone to pull our their cell phones and text Secretary of State Clinton. Administrators were touched, and the middle school was invited last minute because the principle was so proud to see his students passion channeled into such an event.
Before we had left the students had already brainstormed ideas to get more of their student body involved and decided that they wanted to bring Camp Darfur back in the fall and open up to their parents and the rest of the community. Normally Gabriel and I do something during Camp Darfur, but on this particular Friday instead of me standing in front of students trying to inspire them, I was re-inspired by VISA High School students.