Are you a parent? Imagine if you lived in a place where, when you sent your children out the door to go to school in the morning, you knew that they would not be safe. Where you would have to worry about your government actively targeting your family, where you might not have clean water to drink or food to eat, and where there would be no one to turn to if you or your daughter were raped.
This is the reality for millions of people from Darfur who have been forced from their homes and into camps, where life is still dangerous and possibility of violence and death is still real.
Three years after learning about the tragic situation in Darfur, I can’t turn away from the horrors that persist for everyday people there. Together with Don Cheadle and Norman Epstein, I founded Ante Up For Africa, which raises money for humanitarian organizations working in Darfur and for advocacy organizations like Enough working to raise awareness and generate well reasoned policy action from the U.S. government to end the crisis.
I spent last Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress who can make a difference on U.S. policy in Sudan. All of the members I met with serve on the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health. Together with staff from the Enough Project and Refugees International, we briefed members on the need for what Enough advisor Omer Ismail called a “holistic approach” to ending the multiple conflicts in Sudan. Although I originally became inspired to become an activist when I learned of the genocide in Darfur, I now know that a root cause of Sudan’s conflict is an abusive central government in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, that targets its population with deadly aims. So, we worked to explain to the members that a comprehensive approach to Sudan is essential for a successful international strategy to end the conflict in Darfur and prevent a return to war in southern Sudan.
It was inspiring to see the deep interest and commitment of the elected officials we met with to the crucial cause of peace in Sudan. I appreciate that these congressmen and congresswomen share my view that just because a conflict or a tragedy is occurring in a faraway country does not mean that we as Americans should not actively work to end the suffering.
I will continue to raise money and raise my voice to end the suffering of people in Darfur and throughout Sudan. And I hope you will join me in these efforts. Find out more about Ante Up for Africa, Enough, and Refugees International, and learn how you can get involved. No effort is too small because hope for the people of Sudan starts with you.