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Arielle and Eric from Help Darfur Now address "SAVE DARFUR: Rally to Stop Genocide" - April 30, 2006
(enlarged photos at end of article)

With the weather cooperating, over one hundred thousand people gathered in Washington DC, on Sunday, April 30, to take part in the Rally to End Genocide in Darfur, Sudan. The rally was sponsored by the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of over 160 organizations.

One of those organizations is Help Darfur Now, a non-profit organization started by three local New Jersey high school students, Arielle Wisotsky of Ridge High School in Basking Ridge and David and Eric Messinger of Millburn High School, to raise awareness and funds for the victims of the genocide. Arielle and Eric were among the thirty two speakers who addressed the crowd on Sunday.

The students who have expanded their organization into several high schools across the country have given presentations to high schools and temple youth groups to educate students about the genocide. Along with their fellow Help Darfur Now members, the students have raised almost $50,000 for organizations like Doctors Without Borders and International Rescue Committee to provide medicine and food for the victims of this genocide.

Part of their initiative has been to get students and adults to send in postcards to President Bush as part of the Save Darfur Coalition’s Million Voices for Darfur campaign. Arielle, Eric and David collected 3,500 postcards which they sent to the President urging him to use the power of his office help to stop the genocide. According to Arielle, “We were really honored to speak on behalf of the Save Darfur Coalition’s Million Voices for Darfur campaign. We have to reach out to President Bush; Sunday was an opportunity to let him know that we are not going to sit by idly knowing that people are being massacred because of how they look or where they were born.? Eric added, “To stand on the stage and look out at the thousands of people who came from all over the country was really amazing. The first rally for Darfur that we attended in NJ in October had about fifty people. Finally, the word is getting out about the genocide and people are taking action. Now we need our President to take action.?

The youth were part of a group of high profile speakers that included actor George Clooney and his journalist father Nick Clooney,; author and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Elie Wiesel; Governor Jon Corzine of NJ; Senator Barack Obama from Illinois; Olympic speed skater, Joey Cheek, Congressman Donald Payne, NJ, rapper Russell Simmons, and the Reverand Al Sharpton

Arielle and Eric address the crowd as part of the Million Voices for Darfur Campaign.

Arielle and ERic have the honor of meeting U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D. Illinois).

Academy Award winner George Clooney is given a Help Darfur Now tshirt by Arielle and Eric in the speakers 'tent.