"It's not a pretty picture," David Rosenberg says about genocide in the Sudanese region of Darfur. "While some of the violence has diminished, it's still a highly volatile situation where there have been mass murders, kidnappings, torture, and between two and two-and-half million citizens have been displaced, living in refugee camps in neighboring Chad and within Darfur. Our government and the international community have to go farther than they ever have before to save these innocent civilians."
Rosenberg is spokesman for the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, a group starting its second year of fighting for humanitarian aide and U.S. intervention in the region. The Coalition, along with local chapters of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, is taking part in a nationwide fast to draw attention to the suffering in the country. The local fast is set for noon-2 p.m., Thu., Oct. 6, at Downtown's Mellon Square Park.
Those interested in participating are being asked to skip lunch and donate what they would have spent on the meal toward Darfur aide. Local speakers at the event include Pittsburgh city councilors Sala Udin, and Bill Peduto; Ruth Portnoff, co-coordinator of the Schenley High School chapter of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur; Khadra Mohammad, executive director, Pittsburgh Refugee Center; the Rev. Michael Yemba, president of the Sudan Council of Churches USA, and Rabbi Alvin K. Berkun of the Tree of Life Congregation.
Rosenberg says it's been a challenge nationally to keep the Darfur story in the news.
"Sometimes the coverage is so intense, and then all of a sudden, it goes into remission," he says. "But this is a major human-rights tragedy that we have to continue to keep on the minds of citizens and our elected officials."