I opened up my email today to find a message from the Save Darfur Coalition signed by Sen. Bill Frist. It was a long email, so I'll just give you the most important part:
"Please join me in calling the White House comment line today to urge President Bush to launch "Plan B," his tough, three-tiered plan to push Sudan to end the genocide, before more lives are lost in Darfur.
It will only take two minutes of your time and could make a world of difference for millions of people in need. Just follow the steps below:
1. Dial 1-800-671-7887 (toll-free)
2. Once you've been transferred to the comment line leave your comment using the talking points below: I'm calling to urge President Bush to implement "Plan B" to help bring an end to the genocide in Darfur. Specifically, I am asking him to: Enforce tough sanctions against Sudan; Work with the UN to authorize and enforce a no-fly zone over Darfur to protect civilians from Sudanese bombers; and Press the UN for faster deployment of UN peacekeepers to protect civilians in Darfur.
3. Click here to report your call back to the Save Darfur Coalition (this step is crucial - please don't skip it.)"
Now there are many out there who are skeptical about the relevancy of small actions on behalf of Darfur. There are many more who are cynical about anything like this. Personally, I didn't feel I could do anything about Darfur until I met Rev. Lauren Stanley at a Northern VA. church last January.
Rev Stanley had just returned from the Sudan, where she had been serving as a missionary for almost half a year. Actually, returned is not be the right word, as she was forcibly withdrawn by the church in the interest of her own safety. Her sermon spoke of hope , community, and God. Afterwards I approached her an told her how much I respected what she had done and was doing. She thanked me, and with a hard stare told me one thing: SaveDarfur.org.
I stayed for a luncheon at the church following the service. There, out of her robes and eating as one of us, the reverend continued describing her past six months. The stories she told of the Sudan were as riveting as they were unsettling. She spoke of a government abusing its people, of militias committing atrocities, of violence, of people being dragged from buses and shot without cause or sympathy. She spoke of people she'd known and lost, and of what more the United States could do. There was a deeply personal emotion in her voice. I did not eat anything.
Currently, President Bush has taken one of the most active positions on Darfur and the Sudan of any major leader in the western world. Rev. Stanley stated that he was already revered by many in the Sudan for his support of the AU (despite not following through with funding). This shows that he has a willingness to act, but requires incentive to do so. What the Save Darfur Coalition is striving for is creation of that incentive through public opinion on a mass scale.
Even if you feel like you can't help. Even if you feel like it won't matter. Just take a look at the website. This coalition is trying to achieve something truly commendable, and you can help them.