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Unitarian Universalists rally for end to genocide

UUA President takes the stage at national rally to save Darfur.
By Jane Greer
5.5.06

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A procession to the rally to save Darfur held April 30 in Washington, D.C. (Claire DeWitte)

The Rev. William G. Sinkford, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, shared the podium Sunday, April 30, in Washington, D.C., with luminaries from the worlds of politics, religion, athletics, and show business calling for an end to the genocide in Darfur. Sinkford was one of six religious speakers, including representatives from the American Islamic Congress and the National Association of Evangelicals, who gave an interfaith invocation before the start of the rally on the National Mall.

The rally brought together a wide range of people including celebrities and Darfurian refugees; liberals and conservatives; Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and Jews. “May this day remind us that we are all members of one human family,” Sinkford said, “with a responsibility for and to each other.”

The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, which represents more than 1,000 liberal congregations in the United States, formally called for an end to the atrocities in Darfur through a resolution at its 2005 General Assembly.

The rally, which drew 10,000 to 15,000 people, was the largest of more than 15 related rallies around the United States against the government-sponsored genocide in Darfur, Sudan, that has killed 400,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million. The Save Darfur Coalition, consisting of more than 100 faith-based, humanitarian, and human rights groups, organized the rally. Both the UUA and the UU Service Committee, an independent human rights group associated with the UUA, are members of the coalition.

Before the rally began, the UUA and UUSC held a Rally Before the Rally at the Taft Memorial, drawing a crowd of 150 to 200. Among the speakers were four Darfurians. At the conclusion of the rally, Sinkford led the group in a procession from the Memorial to the National Mall.

The UUA and UUSC are also taking part in the Million Voices for Darfur campaign, in which individuals and congregations are sending postcards to President Bush asking that the government take a stronger and more effective role to end the African genocide. As of May 4, 850,000 postcards had been collected. But the campaign isn’t over. “We intend to continue pushing for a million,” said Rob Keithan, director of the UUA’s Washington Office for Advocacy.


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