Recently we attended a Community Conversations program presented by Facing History and Ourselves and Allstate Foundation. The speaker was amazing young man, Mark Hanis. He is one of several students at Swarthmore College that founded the Genocide Invention Network (GI-Net) in the fall of 2004. Today, GI-Net educates and empowers individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. GI-Net has created effective tools to lobby elected officials and to fund raise directly for civilian protection. They are a non-profit member-based organization that advocates for civilian protection in areas where genocide and mass atrocities are occurring.
It is very easy to start taking action against genocide. Doing nothing helps the oppressor and encourages the tormentor. The world's leaders need support and pressure from us in order to act — below are some actions you can do right now and have a hand in stopping genocide.
1) Join the Genocide Intervention Network: GI-Net provides the necessary tools to transform concern into effective action.
2) If you are a student or otherwise connected to a college/university or high school, start a STAND chapter. Even if you are unable to start a chapter, sign up on the website for STAND news, local events, advocacy talking points, and more. STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition is the student arm of the Genocide Intervention Network. There are more than 800 chapters at schools around the United States and a growing number of international chapters.
3) Contribute to the Genocide Intervention Network: Support the peacekeeping mission in Darfur through donations. More than half of your contribution will go directly to support civilian protection. The remaining amount will fund programs, advocacy efforts and provide membership support for the network.
4) Join the Rapid Response Network: There are instances when we need members to take immediate action. You will receive GI-Net action alerts in real time, ensuring that your action makes the maximum impact.
On a different note but still impactful on a local level, we attend a crab feast benefit fundraiser for Ecumenical Hunger Program (EHP). This 34 year old, non-profit, community-based organization located in East Palo Alto provides emergency food, clothing, case management, and household essentials to families in need in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto. Our neighbor hosted us as her guest. We had a great time eating and bidding on silent auction items. All the proceeds benefited EHP programs. EHP is always looking for community volunteers. Several of E’s boys have volunteered there in the past.
An important GLBT issue working it way through congress in Washington is the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). This significant piece of legislation would “right a gross unfairness,” according to the Washington Post, by “[allowing] gay and lesbian Americans and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign-born partners for legal residency in the United States.” Click here to let Congress know that Immigration Reform will not be comprehensive unless all families are part of it – including gay and lesbian families. More information at Immigration Equality.