In response to the crisis in Darfur, the Save Darfur Coalition was founded at the Darfur Emergency Summit at CUNY Graduate Center in New York City on July 14, 2004.
What began as a meeting organized by the United States Holocaust Museum and American Jewish World Service grew into an alliance of more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations with hundreds of thousands of activists and hundreds of community groups committed to peace, protection and accountability in Darfur and all Sudan.
The mission is to raise public awareness and mobilize a massive response to the atrocities in Darfur. By engaging and educating Americans on the dire situation in Darfur, the coalition has applied pressure on political leaders to end the first genocide of the 21st century and support peace for all of Sudan.
The Save Darfur Coalition launched the “Million Voices for Darfur” campaign in January 2006, on the fifty-fifth anniversary of the ratification of the UN Convention on Genocide. The national effort delivered one million handwritten and electronic postcards to President Bush, demanding that he support a stronger multinational force to protect the people of Darfur.
On April 30, 2006, the Coalition organized “Save Darfur: Rally to Stop Genocide” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and encouraged grassroots activists to hold rallies in their own communities around the country. More than 50,000 people gathered in the capital to hear from leading voices in the effort to stop the genocide in Darfur. George Clooney, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel were among the speakers.
On September 17, 2006, the coalition hosted a rally in New York City’s Central Park as part of a Global Day for Darfur, at the opening of the sixty-first United Nations General Assembly. As part of the Global Day for Darfur, the coalition helped inspire and mobilize citizens to hold events in forty-one locales, including Khartoum, Darfur, South Sudan, Cairo, Kigali, Paris and London. This global effort marked the first major collaboration among Darfur advocacy communities around the world.
In 2007, Save Darfur helped form the Darfuri Leaders Network, which connects Darfuri communities across the U.S. and allows them to advocate on Darfur with a united voice.
On May 28, 2008, in a historic display of solidarity, presidential candidates John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton issued a joint statement demanding an end to the violence in Darfur and pledging to pursue this goal with unstinting resolve once elected. The “Be a Voice for Darfur” postcard campaign was created to ensure that the new U.S. president would keep this promise and take a leadership role in bringing peace to the people of Darfur and all Sudan.
On February 11, 2009 Americans united on one night, in one voice, to call for an end to violence against women in Darfur. The Save Darfur Coalition hosted a panel discussion and the premiere of its short documentary “Violence Against Women and the Darfur Genocide.” Five hundred activists in Washington, D.C., and hundreds more who attended webcast viewing parties around the country, learned how sexual violence is a destructive and pervasive weapon of war and genocide. Activists were encouraged to send messages of moral support to the women of Darfur, which were played over the radio in the region’s displacement camps.
April 2009 marked the first Genocide Prevention Month. During the month, communities across America came together to raise their voices and keep pressure on the U.S. government regarding the need for peace, protection and accountability in Darfur and Sudan. By hosting hundreds of “Act Now for Darfur” events nationwide, citizens reminded elected officials that there is a constituency of conscience calling for peace in Sudan.
The Sudanese elections in April 2010 provided a natural opportunity to widen the scope of our work from a Darfur-only focus to a more holistic approach to ending and preventing mass atrocities in to all of Sudan. With a goal of guiding the domestic advocacy community and our international partners towards this shift, Save Darfur centered its first all-Sudan campaign on the undeniably important elections.
In 2011, in order to create a more effective and collective voice dedicated to preventing and eliminating genocide, Save Darfur and the Genocide Intervention Network merged to become United to End Genocide. The merger created the largest activist organization in America dedicated to preventing and ending genocide and mass atrocities worldwide.
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