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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Action in Sudan puts focus on culture rather than tragedy

Today's Student Organization Neighborhood guest editorial comes courtesy of Action in Sudan. The Student Organization Neighborhood is a biweekly column dedicated to giving a voice to student groups across campus.

You've heard about the horrors of the African continent—of genocide and war, of hunger and poverty, injustice and suffering. This weekend in Madison, it is time to celebrate the vibrant cultures that transcend that strife and sorrow.

The students of Action in Sudan invite you to attend the third annual Africa Unite event, a celebration of culture, history and the enduring strength of the people of African nations. This Friday and Saturday, one dozen organizations whose work relates to Africa are collaborating to bring you music, food, dance, film and knowledge about some of the many cultures the continent has to offer.

For seasoned vets of African or international relations, it's a chance to enjoy the culture behind the politics. For novices to African societies, it's an opportunity to get to know the rich and varying experiences of people who are too often overshadowed by news of despair.

Hosted by the student organization Action in Sudan in collaboration with other student, local and community African groups, Africa Unite attendees will learn how to become involved in organizations working to end the forces that threaten African cultures.

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Action in Sudan is one such organization. You may have heard of the genocide in Darfur in which more than 300,000 men, women and children have been killed by the Sudanese government and its sponsored militias. The genocidal violence is finally waning, but it has left nearly three million people displaced, not living so much as surviving day-to-day in refugee camps. Also at stake is the fragile peace after a 30-year civil war between northern and southern Sudan, which is threatening to erupt anew.

Since 2003, Action in Sudan has used political action, awareness and advocacy to help bring an end to these violent conditions. In addition, each semester we organize fundraisers for the Machara Miracle Network, a non-profit begun by an AIS member that helps improve education and living conditions in southern Sudan. Just last spring we held a Mother's Day fundraiser that helped protect thousands of mothers in Sudanese refugee camps from assault by government-sponsored militias.

If you enjoy the Africa Unite events this weekend, we invite you to become a part of our ongoing campaign to end genocide, war, insecurity and humanitarian crises in Sudan. Are you the political type? AIS members have traveled to D.C. to lobby legislators, have advocated political policy and have even organized a statewide campaign to divest state funds from businesses that fund the government of Sudan. Or perhaps you prefer taking action through awareness, and would like to help plan our cultural events, movie screenings, benefit concerts and lectures.

Most likely of all, you are someone who cares about worldly issues and wants to learn more about the situation in Sudan. To that end, we invite you to attend our weekly meetings during which we discuss current news, hear from on-campus speakers, and plan creative ways to engage members in our fight against violence and poverty in Sudan.

Whatever your interests, we invite you to join us for Africa Unite this weekend and learn how you can become involved in AIS and other local Africa-related organizations.

Jacob Kushner is a member of Action in Sudan. If you have any questions about the organization, please contact the Jacob and the organization at 

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