Day Of Solidarity for Darfur: What You Can Do

Jose VilsonJose10 Comments

I’ll discuss more of that tomorrow, but today, I have a special purpose. Days like these remind me why I often think about issues globally, but also try to balance it out with what we can do on an individual, local, and national level. Joining the Afrospear has often given me the opportunity to lend my voice to some of the most socially active bloggers walking this Earth, from Wayne Bennett, who heavily promotes and connects some of these sites, to Eddie Griffin, an advocate for those in the prison industrial complex, as well as other popular blogs like Field Negro, What About Our Daughters, Jack and Jill Politics, and Dallas South Blog. The diversity of activism in this community often makes for strong conversations about the state of the world today.

Then there’s me. Not that I’m here to compare myself to any of these fine bloggers, but when ModernMusings approached me to pledge for a day in Darfur, at first I felt reluctant, strictly because I didn’t feel that I knew enough about Darfur to contribute my voice. After doing a little research, however, I found myself in a wonderful position to talk about the struggles in Darfur, understanding the interconnectedness of the situation there, and many of the situations I’ve heard from where we live.

While Wayne of Electronic Village has already contributed much of his time and efforts to inform others of the struggles in Darfur, Sudan, I personally want to take the time answer the question: What as an individual can I do to contribute? Besides signing petitions, becoming informed, and voting for government officials who address those situations, it starts becoming more difficult and daunting to think of ourselves as change-makers. But if you start thinking of your own voice as an agent for change, then there’s nothing that’s impossible.

With that said, here’s my list of things I pledge to do not only for Darfur, but the communities where we often neglect to take care of:

1. Continue my work with Penny Harvest:

It’s been rewarding to see the effort and time my kids have put into contributing to the Penny Harvest. The 8th grade for instance actually took the time to research an organization, set up a trip, and had a class discussion to see where they would donate their portion of the money to. That’s powerful, and if we can continue that tradition into the new few years, we’ll start to see change, and hopefully make the students see why activism is important.

2. Contribute more time to GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) organization:

I love my neighborhood. I often think about how the gentrification in my neighborhood will most definitely push my friends, family, neighbors, and acquaintances out of this neighborhood, one that those very people built and made the place to be.

3. Infuse more socially activist themes into my lessons:

With the state testing over, I now have more room to take my time and discuss social issues with my students. I’ve done it a couple of times, but some success, but I need to use my position more effectively to inform my students of things happening outside of their neighborhood. (For instance, check these lessons about Darfur.)

4. Learn more about the human rights violations happening here as well as abroad.

The recent report on human rights violations by the US makes me realize that, as potent as the protests against the Olympics have been, we should also protest with such vigor against the injustices happening here.

5. Become more informed about history.

As I’m starting to become more informed, I’m starting to see that the lessons we can learn from history often repeat themselves, and so once we find what the solutions were before, then maybe we can solve some of the problems we’re facing in this day.

And so, activism isn’t just wearing a bandana and holding your fist up in the air; it’s about promoting ideas of progress and change for the better.

But don’t take it from me. Do it for yourself. What can you do? A whole lot …

jose, all mathed out from my trip to Utah …

p.s. – Here’s everyone else contributing to today.

Comments 10

  1. Activism is contagious and addictive.

    Thank you so much for adding your mighty voice to the roar!

    If we are to allow genocide and any human rights abuse anywhere we are playing a part in setting the precedence that it is okay. That genocide is a swell way to depopulate an area with oil resources. That the value of life is counted in dollars and cents.

    In light and love


  2. Hi There Jose!
    What an awesome blog you have here!
    Blessings to you for posting about and joining the effort for Darfur! Every voice counts!

    Peace & Love

  3. Outstanding points. It is often easy to point folks to what others are doing in far-away places. One of our challenges needs to be how we can make a difference with what we have … where we are. I am encouraged by your post. You inspire me and your other blog readers to examine our own ability to make a difference in our own homes, neighborhoods and communities.

    Well done! Villager

  4. Great post, Jose, very inspirational. I often wrap myself up in a cocoon as a shield against that feeling of horror and frustration that comes upon me when I learn about all of the terrible things that happen everyday around the world… But most of what you’ve foucussed on here is about an internal shift into awareness and education and using whatever avenues one has in ones life to encourage change and proactive debate – whether that be on a financial level or just having open dialogues with family, friends or students.

    Thank you.

    (I feel a post coming on…!)

  5. Pingback: In Solidarity: Global Day for Darfur ~ Crisis in Darfur | Exquisitely Black

  6. Excellent Jose! I’m currently reading a book called “The Fate Of Africa” by Martin Meredith and my mind has been blown. He covers the changes in the continent in a parallel fashion linking movements thoughout Africa.

    It has given me a comprehensive understanding of so may of the issues facing Africa today. I’ve also been watching documentaries and trying to get as informed as I possibly can. It’s a beautiful thing and keep up the good work.

  7. Post

    Oh wow, where to begin.

    Danielle V. and regina, your point is most certainly justified. that’s why blogblasts are the least we can do.

    Villager, very true. I love how we have that world-view now of all the things we can do here and abroad based on this thought.

    fn, I shall.

    Shelly, thanks for dropping by. It’s important to transfer all that negative energy one might feel into energy that ensures effective proactive activism.

    Danielle, I need to read that book. Thanks for the heads up.

    Adrienne, Rakim is that DUDE!! And yeah, we do need to do more. We can only do what we can do, but let’s do a little more anyways.

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