50th Edition, News

Community comes together for Darfur

By Denebola
Published: February 2011

By Rebecca Goldstein and Kyra Jae Shishko,
Volume 46
February 16, 2007

More than 1,000 people attended the State Radio Darfur Benefit Concert on February 8 in order to raise money for the victims of the Darfur genocide.
The local South chapter of the Student Anti-Genocide Coalition (STAND) has worked to provide relief and spread awareness of the effects of genocide, particularly in Darfur. Political conflict and corruption in the region has resulted in the suffering, death, and displacement of millions of Sudanese.
“We raised over $20,000 and got the message out to over 1,000 people,” senior and STAND activist Abby Kaplan said.
The club routinely holds awareness days in an effort to raise money, and after months of planning, their dream of a large-scale fundraiser became a reality.
“I’m very excited. It’s the first time that South has done anything like this, and we’ve been putting a lot of effort and work into making the concert the best it can be,” junior and active STAND member Ki Takenaka said.
The organizers will donate all the ticket proceeds to the Genocide Prevention Network and the Save the Children Foundation.
Takenaka met former lead singer of the well-known band Dispatch and current State Radio frontman Chad Urmston at a Darfur Rally this past fall, but had not realized the amazing connections that existed between Urmston and STAND.
“Our [advisor], Dave McCoy, went to high school with Chad,” Takenaka said. “We wanted to not only raise humanitarian aid but also to raise awareness of genocide in Darfur. We realized then that we could possibly collaborate with [Urmston].”
Local South band Interruption and The McCoy Brothers opened the concert . As soon as the music started to play, the crowd was energized. State Radio’s music, a blend of reggae and rock, made the crowd go crazy.
“Some kid was surfing on the crowd…and then they just kind of dropped him,” a nearby boy said laughing. The members of STAND gave speeches before State Radio played to highlight what young people can contribute to making a difference in the wider world. This conveyed that the event was not an ordinary concert, but an instrument of social change.
The spirit of peaceful activism was somewhat tempered by the presence of protesters who believe that the situation in Sudan is merely a violent civil war. They assert that the idea of the Sudanese government committing genocide against its own people is a propaganda campaign supported by pro-Israel groups looking to dominate the Middle East and North Africa.
“My view is that the US has been attacking Sudan for 15 years,” protester David Rolde said. “There was a pro-war concert going on at Newton South, and that’s why we went.”
Junior STAND member and event organizer avid Fisher was not pleased with their presence. “We’ve actually run into each other twice before; this was the third time I’d encountered them,” he said. “I believe they are sick people who do not understand the nature of activism – they’re incredible offensive.”
Overall, however, Fisher thought the concert was a success.
“It was amazing beyond words,” he said, “It was spectacular, cool beyond belief.”

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