Alaska should take a stand on Darfur

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I attended the hearing of House Bill 287, to divest Alaska Permanent Fund investments from companies that are supporting and giving money to further the genocide in Darfur, a region of Sudan. I did not speak at the hearing, but this is what I would have said.

I attend Juneau-Douglas High School and am a member of the Juneau chapter of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur. I also am a proud recipient of a permanent fund dividend. When November comes, a smile shines across my face. Whether that money goes into my college fund, toward a vacation or to go to movies with my friends, it makes no difference. But I would give it up in a heartbeat if it meant that I could stop genocide. And I'm pretty sure that others feel the same way.

Genocide is defined as the systematic killing of a racial or cultural group, or the murder of many, many people just because they belong to a certain group. The war in Darfur has been labeled genocide by the U.S. government. This is the only war to be labeled as such while killing is occurring. Currently, 450,000 Darfurians have been slaughtered and more than 300,000 have been displaced to Chad. I do not support this, and giving money to companies that support annihilation of people, any people, is wrong. I do not want this money to put me through college. I support divesting, and I believe that if Alaska takes a stand, more people, states and countries will take a stand as well. Please take action to protect human life, all human life.

Laurel Stark


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