Vigil calls for action
Brandeis students filled the Bernstein-Marcus courtyard Wednesday night during an interfaith vigil for victims of the genocide in Sudan organized by the campus chapter of Students Taking Action Now: Dafur (STAND). The event was part of a national "day of action" observed by colleges across the country.Students attending the vigil held green and white candles, wore green ribbons and listened as their peers spoke about the genocide in Sudan.
Ivy Hest '07 opened the event with a call for action.
"We will not stand idly by in the blood of our neighbor," she said.
Hest was followed by several students who read testimonies from Sudanese victims. Adam Schwartzbaum '07 recited the account of a soldier in the African Union army, which has served as an intermediary between rebel groups and the Sudanese government, and the pain he felt from "only being given an observer's role." Other testimonials included those of a nine-year-old refugee and an elderly male resident of Darfur.
The testimonials were followed by student-led prayers for peace and empowerment from many faiths including Buddhists, Shinto and Baha'i. The variety of prayers reflected the diversity of the groups co-sponsoring the event: The Orthodox Christian Organization, Hillel, Brandeis Buddhist Community, the Brandeis University Conservative Organization, Brandeis Orthodox Organization and the Religious Pluralism and Spirituality group were all involved in the vigil.
Weldon Kennedy '06, who worked to create the Brandeis STAND chapter by merging it with the unaffiliated campus club "Brandeis Against Genocide in Sudan," spoke to the crowd about conditions in Darfur. Kennedy said 10,000 people die every month in the region and two million people have been displaced from their homes.
The vigil was part of a month-long effort by colleges across the country to raise awareness of genocide in Sudan. The month of September was chosen because it marks the one year anniversary of the Bush administration's acknowledgement of a state of genocide in Sudan.