The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

President Obama commemorates Holocaust, references STAND

Yesterday, President Obama gave a speech at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where STAND housed its first National Student Conference in 2007. Throughout the course of the speech, President Obama cited inspiring acts of bravery and selflessness that had saved lives during the Holocaust, instances where regular people put their lives in jeopardy in order to hide those who were seeking refuge.

Towards the end of his speech, he spoke about genocide in our time, stating, that his "commitment as President" was to do "everything we can to prevent and end atrocities like those that took place in Rwanda, those taking place in Darfur."

He also made a reference to STAND:

"We find cause for hope as well in Protestant and Catholic children attending school together in Northern Ireland; in Hutus and Tutsis living side by side, forgiving neighbors who have done the unforgivable; in a movement to save Darfur that has thousands of high school and college chapters in 25 countries, and brought 70,000 people to the Washington Mall — people of every age and faith and background and race united in common cause with suffering brothers and sisters halfway around the world."

This is incredible–President Obama publicly recognized the work that we are all doing to bring the genocide in Darfur to an end. Now more than ever, we must reach the White House by all means possible on Day 100 of Obama’s presidency, and let President Obama know we agree with him– we must do everything we can to end the atrocities of our time.

Urge the House Foreign Affairs Committee to ask Secretary Clinton about Darfur

Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss the foreign policy priorities of the Obama administration. Call members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and urge them to ask questions of the Secretary about Darfur. Here are some sample questions below:

  • What is the Administration doing to address the humanitarian crisis that has been exacerbated by the government of Sudan’s decision to expel aid groups at the beginning of March? What actions are being considered to ensure that the 1 million Darfuris at risk of losing access to food, water and medical assistance do not go without these life-saving resources?

  • As you know, during its brutal war in Southern Sudan, Khartoum has cut off access to humanitarian aid with devastating effects for civilians. Will the United States allow mass starvation and disease if Khartoum does not respond to diplomatic entreaties? What steps is the United States prepared to take if the Government of Sudan does not reverse the humanitarian expulsions?

  • Special Envoy Gration used very conciliatory language when he was visiting Khartoum, despite the counter-productive actions of Bashir and the Government of Sudan. Can you please explain this? How does the US intend to change the status quo in Sudan?

Here are the House Foreign Affairs Commitee members. If you click on a name you will be taken to their personal page, where you can find their phone numbers.

It’s Not Too Late To Lobby!

You can still set up a lobby meeting with one of your members of Congress as part of the Darfur From Day One Campaign! Although President Obama has appointed a special envoy for Sudan, a lot remains to be done. We need to ensure that President Obama is working as hard as he can to reverse the expulsion of the aid groups, and to complete the Sudan policy review. Email if you’d like to set up a lobby meeting with your member of Congress.

Some chapters have already been lobbying.  Haley Langford, a high school student in New York, sent me her impressions from lobbying.  Check them out below:

It was a bit intimidating, even just picking up the phone to set the appointment! I remember looking up the number for Representative John Hall’s office and just sitting there, phone in hand, and running over and over again in my head “my name, who I represent, I would like to set up a meeting, my name, who I represent . . .” Finally, once I had my little chant ingrained in my head I pressed the send button and listened to that intimidating little dial tone buzz through. Three minuets, two different assistants, and some jazzy hold music later I had an appointment with Rep. Hall!

To tell you the truth I thought it was a bit anticlimactic. I mean, I was anticipating something going wrong; not having enough information, not being able to find a meeting date, to be turned down, something. Instead I got “Two weeks from today? That sounds fine. Oh yes, Mr. Hall is very interested in your cause. Have a nice day.” Click. I almost asked the assistant “is that it?”

Two weeks later I was standing in Rep. Hall’s small waiting room listening to his assistant explain that Mr. Hall was just finishing up another meeting and would see us soon. Though the room was a bit warm I knew that it was not the heat that was causing my cheeks to flush. Though setting up the appointment was easy the real thing could not possibly be so simple, could it? As I stood there tapping my foot the assistant reappeared from behind a stack of flag boxes and ushered us into Rep. Hall’s office.

We crowded into his little room and sat wherever there was room. He took a seat on the front of his desk and immediately started thanking us for coming in to see him. He explained the importance of being able to hear the concerns of the citizens because “I work for you” and in order to know what you want from me “you have to tell me”. He explained how not enough people take advantage of their power to influence and educate political officials.

Then it was our turn. He asked us what he wanted from us. First we gave him a copy of his DarfurScore and thanked him for all the work he had done for the issue in the past. He was immediately engaged wondering why he had a B instead of an A+. Then we talked a bit about the recent issue concerning the dispelled aid organizations and from there we segued into our ask: “Would you please write a letter to President Obama asking him not to forget about Darfur. Please ask him to do everything in his power to get aid back into Sudan.” Soon we had a promise from him and a lot of smiles plastered on our faces.

Though I was not as calm as I wish I had been, I was stuttering quite a bit, Rep. Hall was still impressed by what I had to say and what we represented. So, was it difficult? Nah! A bit scary but not difficult.


President Obama Names Special Envoy to Sudan

After repeated calls from the activist community since the start of Obama’s administration, President Obama named General Scott Gration to be special envoy to Sudan. Scott Gration is a retired general from the Air Force who visited Chad with President Obama in 2006 when Obama was a senator. Gration grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, speaks Swahili, and advised Obama during his campaign on African affairs. Having served in the Air Force for 32 years in the Air Force, he was in the Gulf War and the current Iraq War.

STAND applauds Obama’s timely appointment of General Gration, in light of the recent ordered expulsion of humanitarian aid groups from Darfur, and urges the General to address this urgent crisis as soon as possible.

Call the White House to thank President Obama for this important appointment! Call 1-800-GENOCIDE to be connected to the White House.

Today is Day 50 – Take Action Now!

Today, Tuesday, March 10th, send a progress report to President Obama over the Internet and urge him to take real action on Darfur. Sign up now and send your fax to Obama online.

It is now 50 days into his presidency, and Obama has not yet invested enough time and energy into addressing the genocide in Darfur. And the situation is getting increasingly dangerous. Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir’s decision to revoke the licenses of major aid groups in Darfur leaves millions of lives hanging in the balance. More than ever, we need to show the President exactly what he still needs to do to properly address the crisis in Darfur.

And we can do it today. By sending a progress report to the President, you can show him that there is much work to be done, and he must get started immediately. The people of Darfur have waited long enough.

Mark the 50th day of President Obama’s administration by taking action on Darfur. It only takes a minute to send an fax, and it’s all free and online. Click here to send your progress report today.

Congressional Statements on the ICC Announcement

Congress is already starting to respond to the International Criminal Court’s Wednesday announcement of its decision to issue an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir. 

Take a minute to check out GI-NET’s blog post on the topic.

Congressional offices that would like to submit a statement for inclusion on GI-NET’s page should email Bethany Creel:

Clooney meets with Executive Branch to discuss Darfur

Actor George Clooney met with President Obama and Vice President Biden separately on Monday evening to discuss his recent trip to Chad with New York Times columnist Nick Kristof. After Clooney’s meeting, he stated in a press conference that the administration was planning on appointing a high-level, special envoy to Sudan. Clooney also said that the administration “assured me that Darfur is one of a small handful of foreign policy reviews being taken at the senior-most level."

The administration has indicated that it will appoint a special envoy once the policy review on Sudan is completed.

A few names have been floated in the past couple of days for potential envoys. Rep. Frank Wolf has recommended former Senator Bill Frist to fill the position. Other contenders for the position are Roger Winter, executive director for U.S. Committee for Refugees, and John Prendergast, co-chair of the ENOUGH Project.

New York upSTANDers: Call Governor Paterson Today!

Make the call to New York Governor David Paterson today.  If you live in New York, tell Governor Paterson that you expect Senator Hillary Clinton’s replacement to be as dedicated to ending the genocide in Darfur as she was!

Senator Clinton had a score of A+ on DarfurScores due to voting for, sponsoring, and supporting anti-genocide legislation on behalf of New York in the Senate.
Let’s make sure Senator Clinton’s successor is just as committed to ending genocide as Senator Clinton is. Call Governor Paterson and express your admiration of Clinton’s record on Darfur. Tell Governor Paterson that he needs to appoint someone of equal dedication to the New York Senate seat.
This is a chance for New York anti-genocide activists to make sure that the United States Senate remains dedicated to ending the genocide in Sudan. We can’t afford to miss it, so call the Governor’s Office at 518-474-8390 today!
If you have any questions, e-mail me at!


Call Your Senators Today!

Today, take some time to make sure that Sudan is a top priority from Day 1 of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Join student activists across the country by calling 1-800-GENOCIDE to speak with your Senator’s office.

In early January, the Senate has a unique opportunity to make Sudan a priority for the incoming Obama administration. How? President-elect Obama’s nominees to to key foreign policy positions – like Secretary of State and UN Ambassador – cannot take office until they are confirmed by the Senate. Nominees Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice will have to answer questions from Senators about their priorities and plans during confirmation hearings.

Call 1-800-GENOCIDE right now and ask your Senator to make sure the nominees lay out their Sudan plans during the confirmation hearings.

The nominees will appear before the Senate in January. Will your Senator ask about Sudan?

Call 1-800-GENOCIDE (1-800-436-6243) and speak to your Senator today!

Send a Message To Senator Clinton

This week, Barack Obama nominated Senator Hillary Clinton to be America’s next Secretary of State.

Click here to send Clinton a message asking her to highlight Sudan as a critical priority during her confirmation hearings and to develop plans now so the new administration can end the crisis without delay.

Senator Clinton has been a champion for peace in Sudan.Click here to see a summary of her statements and actions.

 Over the next few weeks, it’s essential that we do everything we can to make sure that the President-elect’s foreign policy nominees understand the urgency of the genocide in Darfur and develop plans to address it immediately.

Sending a message to Senator Clinton will only take a few minutes, but it has the potential for astounding influence.