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Concluding Tents of Hope
Friday, January 23, 2009
UUSC concludes participation in Tents of Hope as Drumbeat for Darfur campaign moves forward
Now concluded, the national Tents of Hope project, started by the United Church of Christ and coordinated by Tim Nonn, encouraged Darfur activists to respond as a community to the genocide in Darfur. UUSC and our members and supporters were active contributors, helping to make the project a nationwide success.
Together, we decorated tents with images and messages of hope and peace, creating both unique works of art and ongoing focal points for learning about, assisting, and establishing relationships with the people of Darfur.
We partnered with Tents of Hope because we believe that our work to protect women and girls in Darfur is strengthened and deepened by the work that local activists do in their community to educate others and advocate for the people of Darfur, particularly on the issue of gender-based violence.
In November 2008, UUSC staff members attended the Gathering of the Tents, the culminating event of the Tents of Hope Project. Over 300 colorful tents from 48 states were displayed on the Mall, in Washington D.C. These pieces of communal art were lined up against the backdrop of the Capital on the weekend after a historic election. Hundreds of concerned citizens took in this display, with its clear message to those who walk the hallow halls of our Capitol: the genocide in Darfur continues to rage and we need to protect civilians.
Many congregations and community groups used the Tents of Hope project to involve others in learning more about Darfur, while doing something that is creative, hopeful, and meaningful. While many of the tents were sent to Darfur to be used in camps for displaced persons, they also had another purpose. These tents became communal focal points for concrete Darfur advocacy. People learned about the crisis in Darfur and how they could be a part of the solution. As people decorated these structures, they reflected and talked about the crisis and how they could make a difference.
To strengthen this project, UUSC created educational and advocacy materials for participants, including advocacy tent cards. To date, we have sent these materials to hundreds of individuals who have shared these materials with their communities. We have delivered over 15,000 signed advocacy cards to policymakers, requesting oversight of the UNAMID mandate and, in particular, the protection of women and girls in Darfur.
When we shared this project with our constituents, one young woman sent us a message for Darfur: "I am holding your spirit safe within my heart, I promise to help."
At UUSC, through the Drumbeat for Darfur campaign, we will continue our work to protect civilians, in particular women and girls in Darfur, and we look forward to your continued help to make this possible.
For more information about Tents of Hope, please visit www.tentsofhope.org.