Year in Review


Hey,

Thanks to you, this past year was a great success! STAND activists across the nation have participated in numerous campaigns, a national conference, four regional conferences, and individual chapter activities. Because of your hard work, 26 Syrian students were awarded scholarships to universities across the nation, nearly $5,000 was raised for young peacebuilders in Burma, and we witnessed the release of political prisoners in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We honored the victims of global genocides in our annual Together We Remember name readings across the country, fought back against human rights infringements and violence within our own country, and pushed critical legislation through Congress piece by piece. As always, STAND students have been at the frontlines of these actions. Read below for some snapshots of the work you’ve done this year. Save Aleppo

In the winter, the situation in Syria notably worsened in the besieged city of Aleppo. As the Assad regime stepped up its use of sieges and rebels lost territory, many called for action to help the individuals of Aleppo. STAND activists responded to the crisis by writing op-eds, urging Members of Congress in the US to vocally and vigorously push for civilian protection measures, including evacuating civilians, and fast-tracking the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which we will continue to support in the coming school year.

http://www.tennessean.com/story/opinion/2016/12/05/sen-corker-syrian-civilian-protection-bill-deserves-vote/95018516/

This year, STAND continued our partnership with Students Organize for Syria, working with students to urge universities to create scholarships for Syrian refugees. This campaign has been a huge success. The petition has gained over 20,000 signatures, three universities have committed to create scholarships for refugees, and a fellowship has been developed to assist refugee students with supplementary funding for their education. To learn more and get involved, visit www.books-not-bombs.com.

Free Jean-Marie

Last spring, STAND launched a campaign to bring attention to the unlawful imprisonment of young activists by the Congolese government. We particularly focused on Jean-Marie Kalonji, a recent law graduate and young pro-democracy organizer who was kidnapped by the Congolese intelligence agency in December 2015.

Using the hashtag #FreeJeanMarie, STAND students engaged senators using the power of social media to raise Jean-Marie’s plight. Earlier this semester, Jean-Marie and other activists were released from prison. While advocacy for human rights in Congo is ongoing, this campaign demonstrated the impact student activism can have in pressuring foreign governments.

#IlEstTemps

In December, Congolese elections were held. As the deadline for President Joseph Kabila to step down approached without an announcement that he would leave, Congolese took to the streets to call for free and fair elections. The STAND Managing Committee took action, issuing a statement of solidarity with pro-democracy protesters, and working with Friends of the Congo to encourage students to stand in solidarity with Congolese activists who were calling “Il Est Temps” - “The Time is Now” for democracy in Congo. Together We Remember

Throughout history, the month of April has been both a celebration of life and renewal and a month of horrible carnage and loss, and has long been recognized as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. For the second year, STAND partnered with #TogetherWeRemember to host over 25 commemorative name-readings at schools and in communities across the U.S. From the University of Southern California to Brooklyn Tech High School in New York City, students across the country read aloud names of victims of genocide and mass atrocities throughout history to honor the lives lost - and to take action to prevent future atrocities. Sign up to host your own #TogetherWeRemember event this April at www.togetherweremember.org! STANDFest

STAND worked this semester to partner with filmmakers to offer screenings of films related to genocide and mass atrocities to chapters across the country. Along with the films, STAND provided action items for students to make a difference. Terre Haute South Vigo High School STAND partnered with the CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Indiana to hold the first “STANDFest,” a film festival of learning and action. Interested in planning a screening or STANDfest in your community? Get in touch with us at info@standnow.org!

R2P Journal Collaboration

This year, STAND partnered with The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) Student Journal, a global, student-led, free online journal founded in 2015 by a group of students from the University of Leeds and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. The journal aims to provide a platform for undergraduate and postgraduate students to publish academic work on R2P and related topics, including international humanitarian law, human rights, international criminal justice, and genocide and mass atrocity prevention. You can check out our first joint issue here, including an article by former STAND Student Director Francesca Freeman!

Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act

The Elie Wiesel Act seeks to improve the U.S. ability to protect civilians around the world by creating a governmental working group focused on genocide and atrocities prevention, and authorizing the Complex Crises Fund (CCF), a small funding pot that allows the U.S. to quickly allocate funds to alleviate emerging crises. While a similar bill failed to pass last year, we have continued to build support. Last semester, STAND activists across the country asked Members of Congress to cosponsor the legislation. All the pressure paid off: the Senate bill, S. 1158 led by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Todd Young (R-IN), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) has 26 cosponsors, and a House companion bill, H.R. 3030, was recently introduced by Representatives Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Joe Crowley (D-NY) and has 30 cosponsors. We hope you will join us this year in pushing for this vital policy issue!