BBYO Teens Rally to Stop Genocide in Darfur
September 17, 2006
New York City, NY – A delegation of almost 300 teens representing BBYO, the world's leading pluralistic Jewish teen movement, joined people of all ages, religions and political affiliations in New York City on September 17 as part of Save Darfur: Voices to Stop Genocide. Timed to coincide with the opening of the 61st General Assembly of the United Nations, the event, which some estimates say drew 30,000 was a call-to-action to the United Nations to bring an end to Sudanese government-sponsored genocide and build a lasting peace for the people of Darfur.
"I am continually amazed by BBYO teens; they truly understand the importance of making a difference in the world," said Matthew Grossman, BBYO's executive director. "It is inspiring to know that their involvement today will catalyze a lifelong commitment to social action and lay the groundwork for future Jewish leadership."
The BBYO activists from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Washington, DC added to the rally's unmistakable Jewish presence, thanks to a coalition led by the American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). Delegations from New York-metro-area synagogues participated, and rally organizers reported Jewish representation from every major city on the East Coast and from states as far away as Colorado.
The teens attending the rally in the east meadow of Central Park heard from notable speakers, including Madeleine K. Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State; Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International; John Prendergast, Senior Advisor of the International Crises Group; and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
The event was organized by the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of over 160 faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations whose mission it is to raise public awareness and to mobilize an effective unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of two million people in the Darfur region.
The teens' attendance at the New York gathering was the second major initiative of this year's BBYO Rallies to Save Darfur programming, which involves speaking engagements and Darfur- and hunger-related educational programs. Teens are also using BBYO's online networking community, www.blinked.org, as a venue to organize local teen coalitions focused on raising awareness about the situation faced by the people of Darfur.