New York, NY— On May 22, 2008, hundreds of activists gathered in front of the U.S. Mission at the United Nations in New York City with Darfur advocacy leaders to deliver thousands of handprints and messages from all over the country demanding decisive U.S. action to end genocide in Darfur and promote peace for Sudan, reported the Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region (ANCA ER).
“The Armenian National Committee of America will continue to work to make sure that action is taken in Darfur. Whether making sure that peacekeepers are sent, divestment is taking place amongst the various states, or overall awareness is brought about, we must do all we can to stop this genocide,” commented Karine Birazian, Eastern Region Executive Director for the ANCA.
Speakers included: Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director, Africa Action; Eric Gioia, New York City Council Member; Yahya Mohammad Osman, Vice President, Darfur Rehabilitation Project; Motasim Adam, President, Darfur People’s Association of New York; Rev. Fr. Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor, St. Illuminator’s Armenian Apostolic Church; Mohamed Yahya, Executive Director, Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy; Rev. Herbert Daughtry, Pastor, House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn and head of the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned about Darfur, and Michael Perlman and Jodie Manross who provided an inspirational performance.
Eric Gioia, New York City councilman, commented “our children will say to us in 10 years, in 20 years, when you found out, what did you do? And how can any of us look them in the eye and say I did nothing. Good people, when good people say they stand for something, the question you have to ask them is what are we willing to do about it, and if the answer is I am not willing to do anything that the sad truth is you don’t stand firm.”
Father Mesrob Lakissian, Pastor of St. Illuminator’s Armenian Apostolic Cathedral, stated: “we the children and grandchildren of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 remember that it was the kindness of strangers and aid that came from all over the world especially from the United States that saved our ancestors. Today, we thank God for his deliverance and pledge to make our voices heard in the face of evil and injustice…”
Cosponsoring the event along with Africa Action were, African Services Committee, American Jewish World Service, Armenian National Committee of America, Chadian Association of North America, Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, DarfurMetro, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Darfur People’s Association of New York, Darfur Vigilers, the ENOUGH Project, Genocide Intervention Network, Making a Difference (MAD), NY City Coalition for Darfur, Rock to Save Darfur, Shine a Ray of Hope, STAND and TransAfrica Forum.
The U.N. Security Council has primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security. The Presidency of the Council rotates monthly, according to the English alphabetical listing of its member States, and on June 1, 2008, the United States will take over the presidency. Over 450,000 people have lost their lives and millions have been displaced in the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Although the U.S. government has acknowledged this genocide, it has failed to take the necessary action to protect the people of Darfur. Africa Action, the ANCA, and rally supporters are calling on President Bush to assert U.S. leadership in support of a multinational intervention to stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur.
Photo Captions: Left to Right ANCA ER Director Karine Birazian, Father Mesrob Lakissian, and Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action