The Lost Boys at Huntington Beach High

Benjamin and Benson, Lost Boys from Sudan at Huntington Beach High (March 2010)

Benjamin and Benson, Lost Boys from Sudan at Huntington Beach High (March 2010)

Last Thursday, this year’s HB Reads events came to a close, featuring three out of four authors of the book, They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky. All I can say is if you weren’t there, you really missed out.  Click here to see pictures from the event.

For many, Sudan is a country in Africa, as evidenced by a colored shape on a map. For those who had the privilege of being there in the Huntington Beach High School gym last Thursday, Sudan is known as the birth place, still sorely missed, of Benson, Benjamin, and others, the now grown men “Lost Boys” of Sudan. It is still hard to imagine all that they went through so early in life, surviving their journey out of Sudan against all odds, transitioning to life as refugees in Ethiopia, then Kenya, transitioning again to life in the U.S. There are no words to adequately describe what it was like to hear them tell their stories, encourage us to appreciate what we have, and use our opportunities to help bring peace to the ever-present homeland of their hearts, Sudan.

A couple of years ago the film Darfur Now was playing in theaters nationally, including one local to us in Irvine. OC for Darfur got permission from the theater’s manager to camp out in the lobby during screening times hoping that attendees might stop to chat with us at our table and choose to get more involved after having seen the film. That was the first time we met Jennifer Rojas, a Huntington Beach High School sophomore that year. Not yet possessing a driver’s license, her parents graciously drove her time and time again to attend our meetings in Newport Beach. When she got a driver’s license the next year, she continued to join us, able to drive herself. Now in her senior year of high school, she is still actively involved with us and over the years has volunteered at countless events we have held, not to mention helping us out with many of our Facebook posts.

Barbara, Peggy and Jennifer from OC For Darfur

Barbara, Peggy and Jennifer from OC For Darfur

Little did we at OCFD know that it was Jennifer, also an Orange County Human Relations intern, who encouraged HB Reads to select “They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky” as this year’s book. Several other books were nominated for consideration, but in the end, her suggestion won out, the result being that a lot of students and adults who might not otherwise know much about the suffering and the triumphs of the Sudanese people now have a better idea of what is going on in that country.

As we move forward, staying committed to difficult issues over the long haul, I think it is a deep belief in that which is unseen that will see us through. When we act according to what seems the right thing to do at the time, one never knows what else will develop down the road.

Our heartfelt thanks to HB Reads for doing such a great job in putting on this year’s events. Thanks to Benson, Benjamin and Judy for being there last Thursday to tell your stories in person. And thank you Jennifer for having been with us the past two and a half years. We will miss you in the fall when you leave for college!

OC For Darfur planning meeting is this Tuesday, Feb 16th

Hi everyone,

We have a continual struggle to live with. On the one hand, horrors beyond words are taking place in Sudan, Congo, Burma, and other places also. On the other hand, we need to maintain focus on our own life here. Often we see people opt for a black and white perspective, "I can’t worry about these other issues, I have my own problems." Other times we have heard the guilt some people feel when they are concerned about the difficulties in their own life, saying, "I know my problems are nothing compared to those in Darfur."

Orange County for Darfur continues its efforts to raise awareness of what is happening in Sudan, Congo, Burma, and about issues relevant to preventing future genocides. Our challenge in part is to remain caring about one another, including the day-to-day struggles we live with here, while returning to the place inside ourselves that can open just a little bit more in caring about those far away. Ultimately, we need a worldview that is large enough that we can all fit into it.

We hope you will join us at our next meeting this Tuesday, February 16th at 6:30p. We will meet at Patty’s office in Newport Beach. Here is the address.

Patty’s office @ 6:30p
2424 SE Bristol Street, Suite 300

Newport Beach, CA 92660

We will discuss:

  • Update on what’s going on in Darfur, Congo and Burma.
  • Huntington Beach Reads events in February
  • Worse Than War, The Greatest Silence and Burma VJ screening
  • Orange County Walk Against Genocide in April.

If you’d like to get involved and help with the planning of any of these activities, I hope you will join us :)

See you on Tuesday.

Barbara & Anshul
Orange County for Darfur
ocfordarfur.org | calendar | photos | shop | blog | facebook

“The Lost Boys of Sudan” screening this Thursday, Feb 11th

Hi everyone,

This week brings more great events from HB Reads, and I want to highlight two of them in particular. On Thursday evening, there will be a screening of Lost Boys of Sudan, and then on Saturday, a chance for you to meet one of the authors of They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The true story of three Lost Boys from Sudan. All details are noted below.

For a complete list of HB Reads events, see their Calendar of Events.

See you Thursday!

Barbara English
ocfordarfur.org

P.S. The suffering in Sudan is far from over. Here is an article from the BBC last week: South Sudan hungry ‘quadrupled in a year’


7 p.m., Thursday, February 11

Join HB Reads at a free documentary film screening of “Lost Boys of Sudan” (Unrated by the MPAA), at the Huntington Beach Central Library (7111 Talbert Avenue), Rooms C & D on the lower level. “Lost Boys of Sudan” is an Emmy-nominated, Independent Spirit Award-winning documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on their journey from Africa to America. Safe at last from physical danger and hunger, “Lost Boys” Peter Dut and Santino Chuor find themselves confronted with the abundance and alienation of contemporary American suburbia. Please join HB Reads for a thought-provoking film and discussion.

2 p.m., Saturday, February 13
Meet a co-author of “They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky,” second level of Barnes & Noble at the Bella Terra Mall (7881 Edinger Avenue, Huntington Beach). This presentation and open book discussion provides a great introduction to the authors’ stories in advance of the “Lost Boys” visit to Huntington Beach on March 11.

OC For Darfur planning meeting is this Tuesday, February 2nd

Hi everyone,

This Wedneday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) will issue a long awaited ruling on whether Sudanese President, Omar Al-Bashir committed genocide against citizens of his own country. Last year, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Bashir for crimes against humanity and murder, but decided that the evidence presented by chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo did not meet the “threshold required by Genocide convention and Rome Statue to establish that the gravest crime [genocide] has been committed in Darfur.”

Many of us eagerly await this ruling as it will certainly have an impact on the elections in Sudan in April. Click here to read the entire article.

Our next planning meeting is this Tuesday, February 2nd at 6:30p. We will meet at Patty’s office in Newport Beach. Here is the address.

Patty’s office @ 6:30p
2424 SE Bristol Street, Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA 92660

We will discuss:

  • Update on what’s going on in Darfur, Congo and Burma.
  • Planning for the documentary screening of “God Grew Tired of Us” this Thursday.
  • Orange County Walk Against Genocide in April.
  • What should we do to commemorate Genocide Prevention month in April?

If you’d like to get involved and help with the planning of any of these activities, I hope you will join us :)

See you on Tuesday.

Anshul Mittal
Orange County for Darfur
ocfordarfur.org | calendar | photos | shop | blog | facebook | twitter

OC For Darfur planning meeting is this Tuesday, January 19th

Hi everyone,

This past Thursday, The Sudanese People Liberation Movement (SPLM) nominated Yasir Arman to run against president Omar Al-Bahir in the first democratic elections in Sudan since the coup d’état in June 1989 that brought General Bashir to power. Mr. Arman inspired by President Obama’s "change" campaign is hoping to walk a similar path.

“SPLM is a national liberation movement has been struggling for many years and made great sacrifices, it stands with the issues of change and ‘change’ is the first word in the program of the SPLM, as well as the issue of a real transition to democracy, and justice for marginalized and vulnerable, human rights, the rights of women, is the most important is what we want done” he said.

Click here to read the complete article. Many of us in the activist community fear that these upcoming elections will not be "free and fair" and people of Sudan will not have an opportunity to genuinely express their voice and pick their leaders.

Our next planning meeting is this Tuesday, January 19th at 6:30p.
We will meet at Patty’s office in Newport Beach. Here is the address.

Patty’s office @ 6:30p
2424 SE Bristol Street, Suite 300
Newport Beach, CA 92660

We will discuss:

  • Update on what’s going on in Darfur, Congo and Burma.
  • Upcoming book fairs, documentary screenings and other events by Huntington Beach Reads Program [link].
  • Orange County Walk Against Genocide in April.

If you’d like to get involved and help with the planning of any of these activities, I hope you will join us :)

See you on Tuesday.

Anshul Mittal
Orange County for Darfur
ocfordarfur.org | calendar | photos | shop | blog | facebook | twitter

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