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Students lobby in capitol

Two Eastern students took their passion for justice a step further than most when they went to Washington, D.C. to speak for action in Darfur, Sudan.

First-year Naomi Sonne and junior Dorothy Stowe visited D.C. on April 6 as part of the Genocide Intervention Fund’s 100 Days of Action Campaign kickoff and Congress RUSH.

The Genocide Intervention Fund, founded by students out of Swarthmore College, seeks to raise money to aid the African Union troops whose job it is to keep peace in Darfur.

It also represents a refusal to let the genocide be ignored, a sentiment Sonne and Stowe share.

“We’re not just going to let the international community stand by,” Stowe said.

Sonne and Stowe were not going to let the American government do so either. As part of the April 6 gathering, they were able to lobby their state representatives about two bills which call for action in the Darfur conflict.

The Darfur Accountability Act is being considered in the Senate, and the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act is being considered in the House, according to Sonne.

Both propose actions such as sanctions against Sudan in order to force the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjaweed militia that has been terrorizing the civilians in Darfur.

One aspect of the Genocide Accountability Act which both girls felt may hinder its passage in the House is a clause that allows the President to use force in Darfur. Yet they also felt this may be a necessary solution to the problem.

“How can you let 15,000 people die every month and not do anything?” Sonne said. “There’s no other alternative.”

The girls felt they were able to make an impact on their representatives.

“It was so amazing to see the incredible energy and time that students have devoted to this,” Stowe said. “They have become a loud voice and a significant presence.”

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