Genocide Intervention Network students teach about Darfur

Genocide Intervention Network students teach about Darfur

Students all around the country are lending a hand to stop genocide. Heather Schommer and Aaron Brooks, members of the advisory board for the Genocide Intervention Network-St. Thomas chapter, spoke to 60 high school students Sunday evening at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fridley. They shared information about the current genocide in Darfur, Sudan, that has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million people from their homes and villages.

Brooks and Schommer, both founding members of the St. Thomas chapter, inspired the students to action. The church youth raised money that will go to the national Genocide Intervention Network office in Washington. The national office has raised close to $500,000 to assist the African Union peace-keeping troops in Darfur. There are only 7,000 troops in an area the size of Texas, trying to protect innocent civilians who are attacked by heavily armed government militia. The AU force is badly under funded, and the Genocide Intervention Network support goes for food, clothing and other non-lethal needs.

Student Jenny Le, another founding member of the St. Thomas chapter, spoke last week at the conference "Never Again All Over Again: Teaching and Learning about the Legacy of Genocide," sponsored by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Le, a sociology major, and Dr. Ellen Kennedy, sociologist and the chapter's adviser, talked about the importance of public sociology to make a difference in global affairs, particularly in involving students to advocate for intervention in Darfur.

UST students spoke at Anoka-Ramsey Community College as well. Ina Ziegler, founding member and now a student at the University of Minnesota, and Kelsey Opdahl, a freshman studying the Rwandan genocide, met with the Multicultural Club at ARCC to share information and to talk about forming a chapter at their school.

Kennedy also spoke to several classes at Metro State University recently and was featured on a panel at the University of Minnesota. This panel discussion was sponsored by Amnesty International.

Visit the Genocide Intervention Network Web site to learn more about the organization and its 700 chapters around the world. For information about the St. Thomas chapter, contact student president Sarah Hogan or Kennedy.