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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students fast to end hunger

    Shelby Harchar, a senior majoring in deaf studies, lights a candle at the STAND rally to save Darfur yesterday evening at the Second Street Parking Gargage. STAND members fasted for the day and donated money to the U.N. Food Programme to show their support for Darfur.
    Shelby Harchar, a senior majoring in deaf studies, lights a candle at the STAND rally to save Darfur yesterday evening at the Second Street Parking Gargage. STAND members fasted for the day and donated money to the U.N. Food Programme to show their support for Darfur.

    A student group fasted and held a candlelight vigil yesterday to raise awareness and funds to aid people affected by genocide in Darfur, a war-torn part of Southern Sudan.

    The vigil was organized by Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, as the end of student-led fast yesterday, which represented the suffering of the Darfurian people, said Erica Solomon, a media arts junior and one of about 10 students who organized STAND at the UA.

    The vigil was held as an attempt to raise student awareness about the ongoing issues in Darfur, Solomon said.

    Deaf sciences senior Shelby Harchar said that she participated in the fast yesterday to help demonstrate the urgency of the situation in Darfur.

    “”For me, the fast was about taking money I would normally use on food and using it to help others,”” Harchar said.

    STAND has a donation jar and donates all of its profits to the United Nations World Food Program, Harchar said.

    The group has been collecting donations received on the UA Mall for the past two weeks, and they will count and donate the money within the next week, Solomon said.

    Bryan Fassman, a sociology sophomore, said he also participated in the fast to try to do his part in increasing awareness of the situation in Darfur.

    “”The world has done a poor job of stopping genocide, and it is unacceptable,”” Fassman said.

    The Sudanese government and a militia group called the janjaweed, have been carrying out mass executions of civilians in Darfur since 2003, Solomon said. The situation began after rebel groups within Darfur attempted to compel the Sudanese government to address underdevelopment problems.

    As a result, thousands have been forced to flee their homes to refugee camps, where water and food is inadequate, Solomon said.

    The fast yesterday was organized in an attempt to give recollection to those who have suffered in Darfur, said Tiffany Tom, an environmental science senior.

    There are about 400 STAND groups throughout the nation, Tom said. While certain chapters of STAND participate in events differently, students from major universities such as Arizona State University, Georgetown University and the University of California at Berkeley all fasted yesterday.

    “”It’s understandable, because Sudan is so far away, that people feel like they can’t do anything to help this situation,”” Harchar said.

    However, writing to politicians and local congressman can help to stress the need for heightened international response, Harchar explained.

    “”We reach students to get them aware about the situation,”” Solomon said, “”hopefully, with added awareness, the situation will resolve itself.””

    Literature about Darfur and documentaries on the situation were shown as student snacked on pizza to end the vigil and the fast on the UA Mall.

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