Newton South students STAND up against genocide

By Erika Rabb
Published: March 2009

STAND, an acronym for Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, is a nation-wide anti-genocide coalition that was created by college and high school students. Now, however, the name has been changed to Students Take Action Against Genocide, enabling the coalition to fight all genocide, not just in Darfur.

STAND is the student led division of the Genocide Intervention Network, a larger organization not geared to one specific community. Its goal is to provide uninformed people with the knowledge and tools to help prevent and end genocide. Both the Genocide Intervention Network and STAND envision a world free from genocidal crime and violence.

STAND aims to unite young people throughout the nation with this common goal, and also seeks to spread awareness. The organization believes that people need to first understand the causes of genocide and what enables it to continue, before finding a plan of action. The organization also believes that the leaders who allow genocide to continue must be held accountable for their actions in order to end genocide forever.

Every day, a new chapter of STAND is opened up by students around the world. The students within these chapters facilitate events and guide and empower peers, informing them of problems in other countries and assisting them in taking action. They also try to encourage their local legislatures to take an active interest in ending genocide and raising money for civilian protection.

Currently, STAND’s primary focus has been to end the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.The genocide coalition has many nationwide rallies and events and has also made appearances in schools across the country. Four years ago, the organization was brought to Newton South by a group of students, and since then has organized several large events that support the fight against the genocide in Darfur. Two years ago, STAND was able to bring the well -known band State Radio to South, raising 10,000 dollars.Earlier this month, STAND hosted another successful benefit concert at South, starring four student bands: Pajammin’, Vitamin Seed, Over the Border and Kitchens, raising over 2,300 dollars. The student body overall has been very eager to show their support, contributing time, money, and effort.

Although concerts have not been held yearly, there are other events that STAND holds to raise money and spread awareness.

The Week of Remembrance is an in-school assembly held to remember the victims of genocide. The students involved in STAND organize a program of speakers who are able to share general information about places affected by genocide or personal memories of surviving a period of genocide.

In the past, speakers have included those whose profession it is to educate others about genocidal crimes, Holocaust survivors, and the Lost Boys of Sudan. The goal of Remembrance Week is to unite the faculty and students to take action against genocide. In organizing this event, it is important that each class is provided the opportunity to attend at least one assembly.

Other miscellaneous actions taken by the Newton South chapter of STAND to raise money and spread awareness include t-shirt sales, collections of donations, and vigils.
For more information about Newton South’s involvement with STAND visit www.standnow.org or come to the meetings every Monday J-block in the cutler commons!

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