Some students walking through Cross Campus on Thursday paused to read numbers scrawled on large posters set up along the walkways: “400,000 dead; 2,000,000 displaced.”
The posters, along with testimonials and photographs of starving children, burning homes and wounded teenagers, were put on display as part of a two day event organized by Yale’s chapter of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, an international group created to raise awareness about genocide and human rights violations in Sudan.
The organizers asked students walking by to donate money that they otherwise would have spent on food to the Genocide Prevention Fund.
“We’re working on getting the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act passed,” STAND member Eric Lockhart ’07 said. “We have people calling senators to raise awareness of the act, and we are raising funds for the Genocide Intervention Fund.”
University spokeswoman Gila Reinstein said although STAND is not officially affiliated with Yale, the administration encourages social awareness among students.
“Administratively, we’re entirely supportive of students taking stands on issues like this,” Reinstein said. “This is an issue of international significance.”
Sylvia Bingham ’09 said she is concerned that Yale has not openly disclosed whether it invests in corporations that may support the Sudanese government.
According to the U.S. State Department Web site, more than 61 percent of Darfur refugees have reported watching the murder of a family member, and overall violence in the region has affected the lives of more than 2 million people in Darfur. Some students said they feel the U.S. government has not done enough to address the problem and that it is the responsibility of American citizens to raise awareness.
“If no one shows President Bush that Americans care, then he and Congress will have no reason to act,” Hannah Sufran ’08 said.
Lockhart said it is critical for humanitarian workers to get aid into the country.
“The majority of refugee camps in Sudan and eastern Chad haven’t seen a single humanitarian aid worker,” Lockhart said. “A high percentage of children are dying from preventable diseases and malnutrition … [but] it’s hard getting humanitarian aid when the workers are endangered in the situation.”
STAND will continue to collect donations on Cross Campus today.