On Saturday, December 11th—the sixth day in the Week of Action for Sudan—William Kuol Mayom stood at D.C.'s Freedom Plaza, smiling ear-to-ear and wearing a t-shirt that read, "It's time for peace in Sudan Now." He was joined by 300 or so activists and members of the Sudanese diaspora in D.C. to call for peace in Sudan and for all parties to respect the outcome of next month's referendum on independence in South Sudan.
When asked why he would travel for this rally and stand in the cold for several hours, William, one of the Lost Boys who now lives in Newport News, Virginia said:
"When I was seven, many members of my family were killed in Sudan. I ran away, and went all the way to another country. There was a war there, and I had to run away to yet another country. Eventually, I came to the United States. This is important, to be here. This is for my family."
The crowd was cheerful and shared messages of hope for a peaceful future in Sudan during and after the referendum process. Against the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol, rally participants stayed warm by cheering for speakers and breaking for music and dancing interludes. Attendees came from all over the U.S., including New Hampshire, Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, California, and North Carolina—many traveling for 10 or more hours on buses, singing traditional songs from Sudan in preparation for the day's festivities, which included homemade Sudanese food from local D.C., Maryland, and Virginia residents.
The event was part of an entire Week of Action for Sudan, led by the Sudan Now campaign, which included more than 50 events across the country, an online town hall with Darfuri refugees in Chad, Sudan Now ads in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico, congressional outreach, and more.
To learn more about the Sudan Now campaign, go to www.sudanactionnow.org