This holiday season, for our 15th anniversary, students are sharing 15 reasons to give to STAND. With your support, STAND will be able to continue our one-of-a-kind mission to build the anti-genocide constituency.
1. STAND is student-led.
Claire Sarnowski, Lakeridge High School, Sophomore
Our volunteer Managing Committee directs our campaigns and committees. STAND puts a strong emphasis on “student-led” and encourages students to contribute to a new generation of atrocity-prevention leaders.
2. STAND is one of a kind.
Jan Jan Maran, George Mason University, Junior
STAND is the only student organization in the U.S. focused on atrocity prevention- as such, it has allowed me to connect with an amazing network of student activists who are just as passionate as I am about preventing genocide, and has encouraged me to continue using my voice for those silenced by repressive regimes. Coming from a Kachin ethnic background myself, I had always wanted to do something about the atrocities in Burma but wasn’t sure how I would until I met STAND. Since joining the Managing Committee, I have been given various opportunities to advocate for people endangered by genocide not only in Burma, but in countries all over the world. There’s literally no other organization that will allow you to do this, and that’s what makes STAND so unique.
3. STAND has grassroots reach.
Aisha Saleem, Barnard College, Sophomore
STAND has grassroots outreach to many different high schools and universities across the U.S. There are very few atrocity prevention organizations that have national support across the U.S., specifically support from the youth who get to decide our future.
4. STAND connects the global and local.
Grace Fernandes (Student Director), Simmons University, Senior
In my experience at STAND I have had the opportunity to learn about and advocate for both global and local issues. I’ve learned from diaspora and activists from a variety of background across the globe as well as advocated for issues at home regarding the land into trust status of my own tribes reservation land through our Indigenous People’s committee. Through campaigning and teaching about atrocity issues abroad we strengthen our connections from local to global.
5. STAND bridges classroom learning and civic engagement.
Caroline Mendoza, Cerritos High School, Senior
My public high school barely taught about the Holocaust- much less other mass atrocities, both past and present. STAND has allowed me to become knowledgeable on current human rights abuses and has given me the tools and resources to advocate for change on these topics, whether that be lobby days, call-in scripts, or committee engagement.
6. STAND enacts policy.
Megan Smith, University of Southern California, Senior
Right now, I am a member of the Managing Committee, but I began during my freshman year here and stuck around because I saw how STAND truly enacts policy. Utilizing our wide network of youth activists, STAND represents a strong voice in advocating for mass atrocity prevention. Throughout my time with STAND, the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act was a key ask, and I remember writing op-eds, lobbying on the Hill, calling my representatives from Los Angeles… When I heard that it was enacted in January, I remember feeling so excited and proud of myself, my STAND community, and all of our allies in getting this milestone piece of legislation for the U.S. in genocide and mass atrocity prevention enacted.
7. STAND provides opportunities for individual activists.
Vishwa Padigepati, Yale University, Freshman
As a STAND MC member, I’ve gotten the opportunity to interact with individual activists from several states, coast to coast. Through STAND, I was able to help equip activists with the research, resources, and connections to the nonprofit and government sectors. From lobbying to research to writing, STAND has helped thousands of activists fight against genocidal history and present in its own historical journey.
8. STAND empowers young people with professional skills.
Megan Rodgers, University of Arkansas, Junior
Through being a STAND MC Member, I have had the opportunity to interact with leaders in the Atrocity Prevention field, collaborate with other students who are passionate about atrocity and genocide prevention and learn effective methods for policy review and lobbying. Due to the training I received through STAND, I felt empowered to schedule meetings with my elected officials to discuss current pieces of legislation that I am passionate about.
9. STAND uses technology to democratize access to power.
Jordan Stevenson, Eastern Washington University, Senior
Being from rural Washington state, it can be hard to engage on policy that is made in D.C., especially foreign policy. STAND gives me the tools to organize national action, lobby, and help build the movement to end mass atrocities all from a far corner of the U.S.
10. STAND updates the public on issues often left out of the news.
Mira Mehta, Westfield High School, Junior
STAND is really amazing because it puts out monthly Conflict Updates and blog posts to inform people about a lot of issues that are often left out of the news, but affect real people. Genocides and mass atrocities aren’t things that we like to talk about or things that we like to teach about in schools, but they’re affecting real people every day, and it’s super important that we have resources like STAND to learn about it.
Alison Rogers, Baylor University, Junior
Through STAND, I’ve been able to engage with activists across the U.S. and internationally. Being part of STAND means that I’m always learning more and getting to participate in new, exciting ways. As a journalism student, I’ve especially enjoyed getting to write op-eds for my school paper and contribute to the conflict updates. I think of advocacy as story-sharing, and STAND is teaching me more about how to do that in ways that are impactful and create change, and that respect the voices of the people affected by genocide and atrocities.
11. STAND promotes Holocaust and genocide education.
Abby Edwards, Columbia, Junior
Genocide education is currently only mandated in 12 states. Our team is working on creating accessible and appropriate curriculum to facilitate education about atrocity prevention in all schools.
12. STAND creates a network of peer support and mentorship.
Grace Harris, Tampa Preparatory School, Junior
By being a part of STAND, I have been able to build important connections with peers. Thanks to STAND, I have a whole network of people I can reach out to for help with anything from editing an op-ed and researching a current crisis to balancing schoolwork and extracurriculars with activism!
13. STAND takes meaningful action for peace.
Daud Shad, Yale University, Junior
STAND raises awareness about humanitarian crises that are generally neglected or met with apathy across the country. Over the past 15 years, STAND has supported thousands of student advocates who work to end mass atrocities.
14. STAND encourages youth activism.
Rujjares Hansapiromchok, George Washington University, Master’s Candidate
STAND empowers and emboldens youth’s voices in activism. The organization allows young people to speak up against injustice and guides us towards impacting change around the world. STAND has given me opportunities to speak up and take action on issues I am passionate about. I have learned different forms of advocacy and activism through the organization.
15. STAND builds a generation of leaders.
Our model of student-created and -led campaigning has led numerous STAND alumni/ae to work on related issues, by founding organizations and running for elected office.
Tim Hirschel-Burns, STAND Alum
STAND provides a constituency for genocide and mass atrocity prevention: People suffering from mass atrocities in Yemen, Myanmar, and South Sudan, and more don’t get a say over US policy even as it has enormous effects on their lives. STAND activists do, and it’s vital that elected officials and policymakers know that Americans want their government to effectively prevent atrocities.