Magazine article The Crisis

Where Are the Black Voices in the Sudan Crisis?

Magazine article The Crisis

Where Are the Black Voices in the Sudan Crisis?

Article excerpt

Just before the Save Darfur rally in Washington, D.C., in April, Rev. Gloria WhiteHanunond hoped 10,000 African Americans would find their way to the nation's Capital to protest the horrific genocide in Sudan.

An estimated 15,000 people attended the Save Darfur: Rally to Stop Genocide. Though she called the Black representation "encouraging," the majority of the rally's participants were White. Her wish begs the question: Why aren't more African Americans outraged and moved to help an African country in dire straits?

"We're not missing in action," says WhiteHammond, who led the Million Voices for Darfur postcard campaign and spoke at the D.C. rally. "But in terms of the grassroots efforts, we haven't been engaged."

There are plenty of reasons to be engaged. Since 2003, the Sudanese government and its allies, Arab militias called "Janjaweed," have orchestrated an ethnic cleansing in the city of Darfur, leading to the deaths of at least 400,000 non-Arab, Black Africans. Millions from this western region of Sudan are now living in deplorable conditions, hungry and dying from disease and malnutrition.

But unlike Rwanda's genocide in the 1990s, which many Americans slept through, activists see Sudan as a fight that can be won and a crisis more Blacks should be up in arms about. Some say they just aren't aware of the situation.

The Black voice on Capitol Hill has been loud and clear for years. In May, several Congressional Black Caucus leaders, including Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), were arrested during a protest at the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D. …

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