A group of American students has launched a campaign to raise money from private individuals in an effort to stop the genocide in Sudan's Darfur region. The effort received support from members of Congress..
Hundreds of college and high school students gathered at the Hart Senate office building Wednesday to begin a drive to raise money to support the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
Andrew Sniderman, a junior at Swathmore College, is leading the effort through the Genocide Intervention Fund, an initiative he helped organize.
Mr. Sniderman says his campaign, which involves schools, houses of worship and other civic groups, hopes to raise one million dollars for the African Union mission in Darfur over the next 100 days. He also says he hopes his effort will generate 100,000 letters to U.S. officials urging action to end the genocide.
He says the campaign was timed to begin on the 11th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide.
"We do not believe that it is enough to grieve for these victims, and so we will remember Rwanda by taking action in Darfur. It is our hope that we will be united now in action in a way that we were not 11 years ago," he said.
Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, spoke to the students and welcomed their grassroots campaign.
"I have to say how invigorating this is to me to see you here, that you are putting your heart, your soul, your time and your efforts, your resources into this fight. It renews us here to be able to see that taking place. It says there are others who care," he said.
Senator Brownback has introduced legislation calling for U.N. economic and diplomatic sanctions against those responsible for genocide in Darfur, including against the Sudanese government.