Monday, November 27, 2006

What more can students do for Darfur?

Here's the answer:


The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Committee on Conscience is asking high school and university students to write an op-ed responding to the question above. Publish your piece in your school or local newspaper and enter it in the Committee on Conscience�s Darfur Op-Ed Writing Contest.
The authors of the two winning essays, one at the high school level and one at the university level, will be flown into Washington, D.C., where you will have the opportunity to tour the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and attend the Days of Remembrance Ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. The 2 winners will also be interviewed for the Museum�s audio interview series, Voices on Genocide Prevention.

The contest will be judged by: New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof; Illinois Senator, Barack Obama; and Former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright.

Please review the requirements and guidelines for entering the contest. Make sure to include a completed entry form (pdf) with a copy of the editorial as published or a printout of the Web page if published online. Editorials must be published by a school or local newspaper between September 1, 2006 and March 1, 2007. Entries must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2007. Make sure entry form is complete before mailing it.

For more details visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum here.

Help raise money for Darfur without spending a single cent...

Film maker Peter Jordan has made a short documentary focusing on children who are surviving the Darfur crisis in refugee camps, and is competing on a website called "Current" in a contest called "Seeds of Tolerance". Jordan's documentary titled "Darfur Rising" is up against 5 other riveting pieces, every single one socially conscious and provocative. All you have to do is log on to their website and vote for your favorite documentary, Jordan is saying if "Darfur Rising" wins, he will donate all the winnings to help the people of Darfur. To watch the film(s) and vote go here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Osmosis loves Oxfam....

What can we do? Is the major question I am faced with from others who are boldly stepping up to help Darfurians, and one of the best answers right now (along with divestment and continuing political pressure and media pressure)is Oxfam America, a brilliant charity that operates without depending on govt. funding. Their unique and quirky "Oxfam America Unwrapped" program inspires and motivates one to donate with such options as : buying a cow for 75$ that will provide an entire economic support system for a family, 22$ hygiene kits, 20$ irrigates a farmer's land for 2 months, and 50$ provides emergency toilets. The program sometimes allocates your donation to things that relate to the thing you're buying for someone, i.e. sometimes instead of a 75$ cow, the recipient receives 75$ worth of cow related products like milk, butter, etc. or maybe it will help buy 75$ worth of cow feed. Also, donations are used to where they are needed most urgently with Oxfam's programs. Oxfam is one of the major aid agencies in the Darfur/Chad crisis.
Want to make sure your donation goes directly to benefit helping the people of Darfur? Try USA for UNHCR's program where you can specify that your donation goes to their Darfur program. According to USA for UNHCR's donation page 100% of your donation to Sudan/Chad Emergency will go directly to benefit Darfurians in some way.
Whoever you chose to support, keep in mind that everyone will have varying degrees of administrative costs that will be deducted from your donation. Oxfam is one of the few charities operational in Chad/Darfur that uses only an astounding 10-12% to cover administrative costs while the remaining 84-90% is allocated towards the emergency operations and or charity programs.

United States Holocaust Museum pushes Darfur to the front....

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum or "USHMM" has taken an amazing and bold step forward in keeping the crisis in Darfur on the forefront of our minds, especially through this Thanksgiving season. Who Will Survive Darfur Today? is a chilling display of Brian Steidle's photographic essay on his time spent working for the African Union in Darfur. He lost his job by refusing to censor his photos and refusing to be silent about the atrocities being committed there. Now, for the first time USHMM is using its exterior wall to show Brian's ongoing images along with other photographers who were able to capture their own photos from the areas from Nov. 20-26 as a reminder to all that a genocide is happening right under our noses, and that we have the responsibility to respond after learning the lessons of the Holocaust.
If you can view the exhibit be ready for the harsh realities of the crisis, but do not let that stop you from doing what you would want others to do for you if the tables were turned-by at not turning away...

C-Span Live and C-Span covering Darfur...

Has been offering repeated coverage of a press conference with Andrew Natsios S.Special Envoy from United States to Sudan, Jean-Marie Guehenno Undersecretary-General of the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, Carlos Pascual Vice President and Director of Brookings Institution in Foreign Policy Studies, and Roberta Cohen an Adviser for Brookings Institution with Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement. It includes a lengthy yet informative Q&A with the audience which is being shown today again at 3:46 pm on C-Span 2.
Then at 1pm today LIVE on C-Span Mia Farrow and Lawrence G. Rossin from Save Darfur Coalition will speak about the crisis and conditions in Darfur.
For info on the 2 channels schedules for these programs go here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Playground+Art=clean water

Huh? You might be a little confused about the heading for this post but it will all make sense once you read about the amazing "merry-go-round" water pump designed by a S. African engineer named Ronnie Stuiver. There are more than 700 of them currently operational in S. Africa and there are always plans for more, and it only costs $7000 to make another one happen! Does Osmosis wanna make one happen? HECK YEAH! Checkout 2 great links for info on the water pump project here and here!

the Beatles help aid refugees....

Richard Marks was inspired to help refugees as he has become a tireless philanthropist focusing on :Afghans in Peshwar, Darfurians and more. His website is a culmination of his efforts to make the world a better place. He recently attained a goal of raising 50,000$ to supply an ambulance to Afghan refugees in Peshwar, and continues to be an avid supporter of USA for UNHCR, NEED magazine, and our great friends Shine Global. Richard utilizes the infamous Beatles song to help represent what every refugee and internally displaced person wants to be able to say "when I'm home ev'rything seems to be right". Checkout Richard's amazing efforts here.

Can Darfur get worse?

Yes, according to the Christian Science Monitor a disturbing a sobering report describes how a terrible crisis becomes even more bitter as the Sudanese govt. closes off Darfur's borders to all press, humanitarian aid and perhaps even the AU. With a fresh report of 30 to 31 villagers killed within the past week it seems we are only showing an appalling government that they can do as they please as they massacre an entire culture. To keep yourself updated please read the cs article here.

thank you Noah for finding this article!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Shine Global shines light on child soldiers of Uganda...

Shine Global is doing things Osmosis wants to support in a big way.
They are an incredible non-profit dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of children through making documentaries and media products that will raise awareness and inspire social and political change. Being one of the lucky ones adopted from a Korean orphanage 31 years ago saved from living a life as a ward of the state or having to grow up in the orphanage makes a special place in my heart for these kinds of groups who are helping the children of the world be safe and healthy. If what I am able to do through Osmosis doesn't prove to you that helping these kids can make an impact locally and globally than I don't know what will!
Shine Global's premiere documentary entitled "War Dance" is a moving piece focusing on the ex-child soldiers of Uganda trying to educate themselves and their first attempt performing in a music and dance competition against great odds. See the trailerhere.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

new Blog from VCU KI group to check out!

I am visually and mentally awestruck by the new and beautiful discovery that is :Surfing The Spectacle, an online blog which-if I understand correctly-was configured by Bob Paris of the Kinetic Imaging dept. of VCU as a tool for his students to help address socially conscious topics in eye-engaging ways. My personal fav. right now is the "water pump merry-go-round" project, and Saira's political paintings that are beautiful, provocative and humorous all in one go. Very inspiring! Kudos Bob and KI!

Support's "RBlog" ....

Do you have questions about Darfur and/or the Lost Boys that have been left unanswered? Then head on over to Osmosis' online article
which is's new RBlog, great way of letting their readers connect with people from specific featured stories with their many varied inquiries.
The article on Osmosis and myself is still up here where you can then click on the RBlog link to find out how to participate! Kudos to for putting out such a great piece on Sunday's event and helping to get the word out about Darfur and the Lost Boys!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Nov. 11 and 12 events amazingly successful!!!

Well, this past Nov. 11th and 12th's events were hugely successful and I have many people to thank for helping to make it happen!
The reading on the 11th resulted in a nice cozy crowd of 16 solid attendees with a few late stragglers to add to the total. Chop Suey Tuey was the perfect place for the reading, it heralded in the 1st reading at Ward's new location and the 2nd stop on Jen Marlowe's book launch after their main launch in DC. Suprisingly we were able to sell half of the bulk order of books Ward got and were concerned about having enough for the next day's event.
Nov. 12th was absolutely amazing. The final attendee count hit 720! Biggest event for the Va Holocaust Museum and largest screening for the documentary to date! People loved the painting exhibit and Awer Bul, one of the Lost Boys who spoke sold all of his artcards (roughly 60-80 different cards) for his art initiative. Chop Suey Tuey sold their remaining books, all of the attending non-profits and advocacy groups got great exposure, and the museum got a ton of exposure. I couldn't have been more pleased with Richmond deciding to show in hundreds of people to raise awareness and engage on such a difficult subject as genocide.
As a result of Sunday's great event I have already:
been able to do an informal short presentation in a kinetic imaging class at VCU.
been approached by a local church to do a presentation on darfur and the lost boys there, as well as a local park and recreational center who is interested in bringing the painting exhibit there as well.
Awer and I plan to continue to work together to help him strengthen his art initiative.
Alot of great things have already begun to sprout thanks to Sunday's success and I look forward to doing more covering a number of subjects.
Richmond Rocks!