When I joined LWR, I was tasked with continuing the organization’s advocacy and education on human rights in Sudan. But I’d never been to Sudan.
At LWR, we try hard to make sure the policy positions we take reflect and respond to the lived realities of the local communities with which we work. Initiatives that look good on paper don’t always make as much sense when viewed from the “bottom up.” So even though I have colleagues with extensive Sudan experience, my supervisor thought it important that I visit the country in person.
The opportunity for a trip came quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I had no chance even to meet LWR’s regional director for Africa, Evariste, before I left.
That was two years ago. The trip went well and I learned a lot.
But Evariste recently confessed to me that he’d been a little nervous about the trip. He didn’t know me back then and Sudan is not an easy place to get around if you don’t know what you’re doing.
He had little cause to worry though. And although I’d like to tell you that’s because I’m such a tough and seasoned traveler, it was really because of the hospitality and care shown by my hosts. During the most challenging part of the trip (to areas along the Southern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo) our party was guided every step of the way by priests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio. They knew the local situation well and their dedicated service to the community meant everyone we encountered was eager to help us as well.
Last week I was excited to hear the bishop of that parish testify before the U.S. Congress about the increasing violence in his country and the way forward to peace. He urged our government to deploy every diplomatic resource, employ every incentive and apply every consequence necessary to ensure that there is an end to the fighting in South Sudan.
We can all bring this new nation of South Sudan a chance to enjoy the hope and the freedom, the justice and peace, it so richly deserves and has long awaited – Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala
So I hope you will join me in this opportunity to be of some assistance to the Bishop. On June 22 (TODAY), LWR and its advocacy partners will host a national call-in day during which we will urge the United States to take seriously the escalating violence and attacks on civilians in Sudan. Participating is easy and will only take a minute. But your voice can help make a big difference.
Dial 1-800-4366-2433 to connect to the White House and:
- Give your name;
- Say what state you are from; and
- Ask the president to “deploy every diplomatic resource, employ every incentive and apply every consequence necessary to ensure that there is an end to the fighting in South Sudan.”