Last week, STAND hosted over sixty chapter leaders from around the country at STAND Camp 2010. Over four days at a retreat center in Maryland, students heard from John Prendergast, Omekongo Dibinga, Carl Wilkens, and many other anti-genocide activists and policy specialists. Students participated in community organizing and advocacy training sessions from STAND partners and alumni at the New Organizing Institute, USAID, and Organizing for America. After a fulfilling (and exhausting) weekend of campaign strategizing, policy debates, and movement building, STAND chapter leaders took to the Hill to lobby their elected officials on Sudan, Burma, and genocide prevention.
Students met with 16 Senators and one Representative on Monday. They urged their Senators to take action on Sudan by pressing for a greater U.S. role in the Darfur peace process, the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the fulfillment of the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir. Students urged their Senators to sign Senators Feinstein and Gregg’s recent Dear Colleague letter supporting a UN commission of inquiry into crimes in Burma.
This week’s STAND Lobby Day demonstrated the power of political will to effect change in U.S. government institutions. The Senators and Representatives responded to student advocacy–32 Senators, many of whom met with STAND students on Monday, became signatories of Senators Feinstein and Gregg’s Dear Colleague letter. Senators and Representatives engaged STAND chapter leaders on critical legislative and policy issues, as in STAND Outreach Coordinator Mac Hamilton’s conversation about the commission of inquiry with Sen. John Kerry’s foreign policy team.
These next several months will be critical moments for the movement to prevent and end genocide. We need to continue to pressure our elected officials to take an active role in supporting genocide prevention and civilian protection worldwide. Continue to lobby your elected officials on these critical issues–your voice can tip the scale.