Bay Area rallies to save Darfur

Stanford University student Elissa Test has finals coming up, but her study sessions will have to wait. Right now the Jewish undergrad is much more concerned with organizing a Bay Area day of protest over the ongoing genocide in Darfur.

Test founded the Stanford chapter of STAND (Students Taking Action Now for Darfur) last year, and since then the 20-year-old English major has been working towards “The Day of Conscience for Darfur” on Sunday, April 30, a daylong vigil and rally. That event is part of a nationwide day of action meant to raise awareness of the problem.

“My grandfather is a survivor of the Holocaust,” says the Redwood City native. “Part of me couldn’t believe Darfur was happening and that so little was being done to end the genocide. I knew I needed to step up.”

“Day of Conscience” is co-sponsored by the S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council, American Jewish World Service, Human Rights Watch and others. The event begins with a 10 a.m. vigil on the Golden Gate Bridge followed by a 1:30 p.m. rally at Crissy Field in San Francisco. Speakers include Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D. San Francisco), Rep. George Miller (D. Martinez) and Congregation Emanu-El Rabbi Sydney Mintz.

Following the rally, several choirs from Bay Area synagogues and Jewish community groups will come together at Emanu-El in the main sanctuary. There is no admission charge, but a suggested donation of $10 will be collected and donated to American Jewish World Service’s Darfur efforts.

Says Test, “Jewish communities have really stepped up and taken a lead in taking a stand against genocide. We remember the Holocaust, and we don’t want something so terrible to happen in Darfur.”

Other events taking place around the Bay Area include:

Rwanda’s Paul Rusesabagina, in conversation with Georgette Gagnon, deputy director, Africa Division, of Human Rights Watch. The talk begins noon Friday, April 21, at Marines’ Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter Street, S.F. Tickets are $10 to $35. Co-sponsors include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Museum of African Diaspora, Marines’ Memorial Association, and Stacey’s Bookstore. Tickets: $10-$35.

“Voices Against Genocide Darfur and Sudan: Education to Action,” with speakers Mark Brecke, Elvir Camdzic, Georgette Gagnon, and Jok Maduk Jok. The event takes place 3 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at Temple Sinai, 2808 Summit St., Oakland. Sponsors include the Temple Sinai Social Action Committee, Temple Sinai Sisterhood, S.F. Bay Area Darfur Coalition, Dear Sudan and Progressive Jewish Alliance Darfur Sudan Educational Panel.

Fidele Lumeya, of the International Emergency Response, Church World Service, will speak about humanitarian aid operations in Darfur at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 240 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon. He will also speak 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at First Congregational Church, 2323 Euclid Ave., Redwood City.

A Darfur Teach-In will take place 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at Congregation Sherith Israel, 2266 California Street, S.F.

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is a contributing editor at J. He was a longtime staff writer at J. and retired as news editor in 2020.