Day Of Solidarity for Darfur: What You Can Do

Jose Vilson Jose

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.