WHY THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT: As Bishop Wenski, Chairman of the Committee on International Policy, noted in his pre-rally statement on Friday, “The U.S. Catholic bishops join with the leaders of other faith communities and all people of good will in an urgent appeal to the President and our elected representatives to strengthen their efforts to bring a definitive end to the intolerable moral and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Sunday’s Save Darfur Rally should remind our leaders that our nation cannot remain silent in the face of killings, rape and wanton destruction. Our country can and must do more, much more, to defend and protect innocent civilians in Darfur. Anything less would be unworthy of us as a people committed to human life and dignity. We must ‘Save Darfur.’ ”
Yesterday, tens of thousands of people from across the country gathered on the Mall here in the nation’s capital yesterday to answer that call and hear the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and other distinguished speakers let the world know that Americans will not sit idly by in the face of the atrocities being suffered by the people of Darfur. Despite the countless miles that separate Washington from this desert region in western Sudan, the voices of the innocent were finally heard. Civilians trapped amid the violence between the Sudanese army and rebel forces, as well as subject to inhuman cruelty at the hands of the janjaweed militia under the sponsorship of the government in Khartoum, have cried out for the world’s attention. In addition to the 400,000 people who have died since 2003, 2.5 million have been driven from their homes and 3.5 million are at risk of starvation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Yesterday’s display of public support was encouraging, but our work is not finished. Over three-quarters of a million people have already expressed their commitment to the people of Darfur by sending postcards to the President. If you haven’t already done so, now is the moment to make your voice heard by joining the Million Voices for Darfur Campaign. In answer to the Gospel’s call to protect human life and dignity, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has joined the Save Darfur Coalition.
The Coalition, an alliance of over 150 faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations, seeks to collect one-million postcards encouraging the President in his call for a stronger multinational force to protect the people of Darfur. These postcards are available both in paper (by telephone at 202-478-6311) and electronically (www.savedarfur.org). Help us to reach that goal of one-million postcards.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Make sure that your elected officials know that the American people stand by their commitment to the people of Darfur. Please tell the President and Congress today that the United States must make protecting the innocent civilians of Darfur a top priority. Remind our leaders that the American people cannot remain on the sidelines in the face of killings, rape and wanton destruction. As Bishop Ricard stated in a call to action on behalf of the bishops last September, “The crisis in Darfur must be ended. We cannot stand idly by while human life is threatened. The United States and the international community can and must do more to end this moral and humanitarian crisis.”
For more information, contact:
Theodore Rectenwald, Policy Advisor for African Affairs, 202-541-3149, TRectenwald@usccb.org