Name: Daniel Solomon
Position: National Advocacy Coordinator
School: Georgetown University
City: Washington, DC/New York, NY
What’s your story?
STAND’s mission, in one form or another, has come naturally for me. I grew up on the Upper West Side of New York City–a personal injustice was a low supply of corned beef at Zabar’s, the local Jewish deli. In retrospect, I encountered few instances of visceral bigotry and intolerance. Through my Hebrew school education, however, I began to study the events of the Holocaust at a fairly young age, and with a great deal of interest. The familiar moral questions began to materialize: How could this have occurred? What could have motivated people to participate in this sort of violence? Could this have been stopped? If so, why wasn’t it? My growing interest in Holocaust studies coincided with the emergence of violence in the Darfur region of Sudan. At Hebrew school, during a class on social justice and American Jewry, my teacher explained the moral link between the events of the Holocaust and those currently taking place in Sudan. I began to delve deeper into Holocaust and genocide studies, taking up the subject as an unusual focus of my high school career. I attended a few rallies–most memorably, the September 2006 rally for UN peacekeepers in Central Park–but never had a full sense of the scale and impact of the student movement. When STAND released applications for its education task force in the spring of 2009, I decided it would be a valuable opportunity for me to apply my academic interest in STAND to real, boots-on-the-ground activism. My experience hasn’t proven me wrong.
Why do you care?
STAND is the sole student organization responsible for confronting humanity’s worst moral perversion: the widespread occurrence of genocide and mass atrocities. It doesn’t take a moral philosopher to recognize the extreme damage that these occurrences wreak on the conscience of our global community. Our participation in American democracy provides us with a great privilege, as well as a great burden. As a member of this global community, I have a responsibility to gradually repair this egregious damage; as an American citizen, I am responsible for bringing this issue to the forefront of American public debate and foreign policy.
What are your goals for the year?
I look forward to reinvigorating campus communities to take action on behalf of genocide and mass atrocities prevention. The current legislative acts, based off of the recommendations of the December 2008 Genocide Prevention Task Force report, represent the culmination of much of STAND’s advocacy over the past six years. I look forward to working with chapters across the country to continue to develop innovative strategies to demonstrate student support for this issue, as well as others within STAND’s areas of concern.
What makes you STAND?
Others sitting when confronted by injustice.
You would never guess that…
if I had my choice of summer activities, I would work on a cheese farm in Vermont.