An outSTANDing day on the Hill: STAND Camp Lobby Day
By Advocacy Coordinator Maria Thomson
STAND Camp 2011 kept its attendants busy this summer: every day was brimming with campaign strategy-building exercises, policy debate and analysis, educational sessions with top officials from organizations including United to End Genocide, Enough, the New Organizing Institute, Girifna, and more. Nevertheless, after four full and exhausting days of devoting total energy and enthusiasm to STAND Camp activities, 32 students (about half of everyone who came to STAND Camp!) stayed one more day to take a bus into Washington, D.C. and meet with their representatives on the Hill on Monday.
The students, representing 19 states of the U.S., met with 31 senators or staffers on Monday. They spoke on the situation in Sudan since South Sudan’s achievement of independence on July 9th, including topics such as recent violence in South Kordofan and Darfur, and continued indecision in Sudan regarding the future of Abyei. The students urged their representatives to keep Sudan a priority in the coming months and years as the two countries continue to deal with post-independence issues. Additionally, students spoke with their representatives about the need to replenish funds in critical accounts — such as the Complex Crises Fund, Conflict Stabilization Operations, and Migration and Refugee Assistance funds — that were significantly cut by Congress during the August budget debates.
Once again, Monday’s Lobby Day experience demonstrated the determination of STAND students to take action in changing the course of global mass atrocities and relevant US policy. In the meantime, students continue to speak with their representatives on their own to build working relationships with Senate staffers and ensure that their voices are included in legislative decisions. These relationships will be crucial in the coming months, which will see both the introduction of genocide prevention legislation in Congress, as well as developing situations in Sudan and South Sudan, Libya, Syria, the DRC, and many other regions of concern. Please continue to lobby your representatives on these issues and stand up to voice your support for an end to genocide: it starts with you!