At the NAACP, our work in the global arena sometimes elicits the following kind of question: “With all the ills in the United States, why should we be involved in the problems in those countries?” There are at least three principle reasons you should engage globally.
First, if you intend to be relevant, you have to be global. We are interconnected in economics, politics, entertainment and the like. Every time you purchase something, you are participating in the global economy. You have a vested interest in what is happening in the world for your personal well-being.
Second, if you don’t make the world a better place “over there,” you will soon suffer the consequences “right here.” The ease of global communication and transportation makes the creep of problems around the world inevitable. Remember the Asian flu and HIV?
Third, making this world a better place for all is the work of mature and responsible people. We are interdependent and interconnected. How can you know that a child is starving or a woman is raped or a family’s home is burned and not be moved to add your voice to the call for peace and justice?
Sudan is a country where unimaginable human atrocities are continuing. Despite modest steps of progress, there are still gross displays of inhumane treatment of individuals, families and communities. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is joining the Save Darfur Coalition to call for people who believe in peace, justice and security to join in a global day of action on Sudan on Jan. 9.
That date marks the fifth anniversary of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between North and South Sudan and one year out from the referendum that will determine whether the southern region of Sudan will separate from the north. With many highly contentious issues still to be resolved, with growing violence in the south and unresolved conflict in Darfur, there is a real risk of a return to widespread conflict that could destabilize the entire region and place civilians in grave danger.
On Jan. 9, groups from across the world will join together and call on their leaders to take urgent diplomatic action to prevent a return to violence in Sudan. Events are being held in Mali, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Kenya, London, Edinburgh, Italy, Norway, New Zealand, Cairo and other places to be confirmed.
In Washington, D.C., the event, titled Sudan 365: Drumming for Peace Event, will begin at 11 a.m. at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church at 1313 New York Ave. NW. It will feature powerful drumming, footage of celebrity drummers from around the world joining the beat, and words from Sudanese survivors and leaders in the movement for peace in Sudan.
After the short program, we will march to Lafayette Park in front of the White House. Please bring a drum or other percussion instrument if you would like to join in the drumming and a sign if you would like to join the march.
Additional events in the United States will take place that day in:
Congregation Emanu-El, 2 Lake Street, San Francisco, 6:45-8:45 p.m.
Los Angeles Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 6-7 p.m.
Washington Square Park, West 4th Street and Waverly Place, New York. Time to be determined.
Additional U.S. events are being added. For more information, please visit SaveDarfur.Org
David Emmanuel Goatley is chairman of the NAACP International Affairs Committee and executive secretary-treasurer of the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention. This column appeared originally on NAACP Blogs.
David Emmanuel Goatley is Research Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies and Director of the Office of Black Church Studies at Duke Divinity School.