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“What can I do?”

[new_royalslider id=”57″] The kid lives in beautiful Hawaii, and he’s only in middle school, but he was bothered, upset, and not OK with inaction. He had just walked through our tent exhibit Camp Darfur, five tents that took him from Armenia, to the Holocaust, to Cambodia, to Rwanda, and then to Darfur. It can be overwhelming even to the most hardened adult. This kid was bothered by what he learned, to say the least, and he was not OK with just walking away and simply doing some online activism at the action tables. He asked, “Why is this allowed to happen?” and, “What can I do?!”

First, I told him to take out his cell phone and call (202) 456 1111, the White House. Kids today need to know that our leaders are there to represent us and our values. We need to tell the President and others in government what we think is important, and what we want for our nation and our world. So, he called the White House, and the operator took his message down and said that he would pass it on to the Office of the President.

He wanted to know what else he could do. I just loved that he was so motivated to act. I felt the same way, when I first heard about Darfur, even though I was decades older than he is. I told him to start with his own community. To connect with the amazing teacher, Kimi Frith who brought Camp Darfur for the second time to her school. She is the Teacher Advisor for ‘Iolani’s student run club, Operation RAD. Operation RAD has been active on Darfur for years, raising awareness, taking advocacy, and raising funds in Oahu—and connecting with refugees in camps on the Chad-Sudan border, creating special friendships that will last a lifetime.

“And, what else can I do?” he asked. As I did almost ten years ago, I told him to start with his family and friends, letting them know about Darfur, how he feels about it, and how they can also help. I told him to do research online and to check out our websites to see what i-ACT and other organizations are doing to address some of the root causes of the violence.

I had to leave to speak with another group of students that was coming through the tents, but I kept looking over at him, as he stayed by the tents and took further notes. He continued to look bothered—but in a good way: bothered enough to act.

Peace, Gabriel


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