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Congressional Black Caucus Takes on Darfur

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Congressional Black Caucus Takes on Darfur

Posted by Eileen White Read on May 19, 2009

Today, Enough Advisor Omer Ismail, a native of Darfur, joined 16 members of the Congressional Black Caucus for a press conference to announce their participation in a fast "in solidarity with the Darfuri people."

Actress and activist Mia Farrow, whose hunger strike for Darfur inspired the Darfur Fast for Life fasting chain, issued a notice that "among President Obama’s priorities, Darfur has to take its place."

Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) described the fast as "our small way of saying to Darfuris that they are not alone, they are not forgotten, and we stand with them." He emphasized that the group’s highest priority was to secure a meeting with President Obama and his Special Envoy to Sudan, Gen. Scott Gration, to discuss next steps. The group, he said, was glad that Gen. Gration is about to begin a trip to China, one of biggest international players in Sudan, though he wished the CBC had been granted a meeting ahead of time.

Caucus Chair Barbara Lee, who’s been to Darfur several times and sponsored the Darfur divestment bill that became law last year, noted that John Conyers (D-MI), the caucus’s longest-serving member, was there, along with one of its newest members, first-term Representative Donna Edwards (D-MD.) The hastily-called press conference drew several members of the press, a testament to the power of the caucus and the importance of the issue.

Kudos is due to the caucus for holding this event as a stand-up on the terrace of the Cannon House Office Building without the customary comfy chairs, continental breakfast, or deli lunch. We have had enough of events where a bountiful repast is served to those discussing the fate of 2.8 million people living on 1,000 calorie a day "refugee rations."