Thursday, November 02, 2006

Amherst Joins the Divestment campaign!

Actor Don Cheadle joined hundreds of students at the University of California in support of targeted Sudan divestment. In March, 2006, the University restricted holdings in nine "offending" companies. see this link:

Dear Darfur Supporters,

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!! The Town of Amherst, at a Special Town Meeting last night Nov. 1st, voted to take action to end the genocide in Darfur. The resolution is attached here.

Thank you, Martha and Irwin Spiegelman for working so tirelessly to get the article on the agenda of the Special Amherst Town Meeting last night and organizing a strong lineup of speakers, starting with Martha herself who gave a clear, powerful argument for the importance of a message about Darfur that will resonate from the town to the state to the international communities. Mohamed Ibrahim Elgadi followed with a moving testimony of his abhorrent imprisonment by the Government of Sudan and the importance of divesting from companies who contribute directly to the daily torture and murders by these perpetrators. Select Board member Anne Awad argued for the resolution (that was unanimously supported by the Select Board) by first letting us all know that our community is privileged to have heroes like Mohamed and Magda among us; I felt both proud and teary-eyed upon hearing her words about our two dear, tireless members.

Meanwhile, the ARHS Stand members came in full force -- their presence in such numbers communicates so much to the town that our community places Darfur in the forefront of their concerns. And thank you, Juliana Morgan-Trostle, for trying so hard to be heard at the Town Meeting. We strongly recommend that you submit your speech (by email) as a letter to the Editor of The Amherst Bulletin. Your voice will be heard!

Note that the attached resolution says:

"that copies of this resolution be distributed to the President, members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, other members of Congress in positions of leadership of the House and Senate and committees with jurisdiction over foreign policy and commerce, the Governor of Massachusetts and members of Amherst’s delegation to the state legislature, and other leaders of the state legislature as deemed appropriate..."

Our next move should be (1) to communicate our success to other communities around Massachusetts so that all our individual town voices will resonate together in urging the Mass. legislature to pass the Sudanese Divestment Bill that will be brought back in the upcoming session; and (2) to disseminate our resolution even further, around the country, in order to encourage other towns to create a lot of noise about divestment, UN peacekeepers and the ICC. As we know so well, grassroots work is so crucial. Again, thank you Martha and Irwin.

So email me your ideas on ways to spread the word. I will contact my colleagues at Save Darfur -- national and Massachusetts group -- and give them our resolution. Other ideas?

Also upcoming event: Darfur Panel at UMass (along with Darfur Children's Art Exhibit -- it's really traveling!!!) on Wed., Nov. 15th, 7 pm (mark the date -- details to come -- Magda and Mohamed are among the speakers; if you want an in depth analysis of the current situation in Darfur, hear it from them). Organized by our member, Stephanie Aines (contact her at

Come discuss the dissemination of the resolution and other issues at next meeting:
Tuesday, Nov. 7th at 7 pm at Fanny's, 26 Morgan Circle, Amherst (directions attached).

Fanny Rothschild
Western Mass. Darfur Coalition