Darfur genocide is student’s call to action

Brittany Arquette and Brittany Arquette

By Brittany Arquette
City Times

Genocide might not be a common word in most Americans’ vocabulary, but across the Atlantic, where millions of people in Darfur, Sudan, are being slaughtered and forced out of there homes, the word genocide is all too common.

“I didn’t realize genocide was still happening today,” said City College student Katheryn Bush. “People are still struggling for what we have.”

Bush is a human rights activist at City who is determined to spread the word about Darfur, where 400,000 natives have been murdered and over two million have been forced to flee their homes and live in refugee camps because of their culture, race, and beliefs.

“I use to think all I could do is just sit around and feel bad for these people, but we can make a difference. We can start right here in San Diego.”

Bush is now far from “just sitting around.” She is working with Amnesty, a worldwide movement of people who are fighting for international human rights. She also is trying to start an anti-genocide chapter in STAND, a nationwide high school/college club that promotes equality among all types of people.

“I got the idea to start a club on Martin Luther King Day,” she said. “I was at the World Beat Center and a man named Francis Reed spoke on stage. He said, ‘People in my country are getting killed and tortured because of their skin colors and beliefs.’ After that I wanted to do something. I wanted to help.”

She since has volunteered at a local refugee camp as a tutor and recently worked with Amnesty at a film festival. But so far, with 15 students behind her, no official chapter of STAND has been started.

“We need to get everyone in San Diego involved. The only thing stopping us is the universal belief that there’s nothing we can do. If people do a little research they’ll learn how much they alone can do,” Bush said. “There’s so many web sites out there where they can find ways to help. San Diego should become especially involved because we have so many refugees from Darfur living here who were hurt and tortured.”

With Iraq and politics always frontlining the news, Bush said she believes some Americans may have still be unaware of the situation in Darfur.

“Before Martin Luther king Day, I had known about Darfur, but I really hadn’t heard anything in a while, but that doesn’t mean genocide isn’t happening,” she said.

To find out how to be a part of the club, e-mail Bush at [email protected] .com. To learn more about the genocide in Darfur, visit www.savedarfur.org.