I sit here in the small shade of a tree at Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles with more than 3,000 others who are walking this morning at Jewish World Watch‘s Walk to End Genocide. Camp Darfur is set up, and there are hand painted canvas sheets for the shaded areas at the new Little Ripples Ponds hanging everywhere. The Los Angeles City Council held an art contest for the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, and the winners are displayed all around.
I can’t help but get emotional and a little angry that genocide continues. That we have to walk, fundraise, educate, and amplify the stories of survivors to cultivate an entire movement to end genocide.
How can we as individuals and collectively as humanity allow people to be targeted, degraded, and slaughtered because of their race, religion, or ethnicity? When do the rights and protection of civilians trump country sovereignty? How many deaths until we say enough, we stand with those being targeted?
And, finally, how many more mass atrocities will occur before we say we need to do something different? Before we demand more peace programs, more cross-cultural activities, more trauma recovery, more empathy building, and more seeds of peace being planted in the lives of millions of children worldwide so that we truly eradicate genocide in the coming years?
I don’t have answers. I am proud that i-ACT works towards finding innovative solutions to this huge challenge. I’m proud that we continue to go to eastern Chad, an isolated region where so many aid groups have already left. These are great sources of motivation for me. But on days like today, I’m overwhelmed with emotion and the tears fall freely.