Barbara Lee urges Congress to fast for Darfur

Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health held a Capitol Hill news conference today urging all of Congress and others to join the “Darfur Fast for Life” campaign by fasting in solidarity with Darfur residents suffering at the hands of the Sudanese government.

“Almost 15 years ago in Rwanda, the international community turned a blind eye while a million civilians were hacked to death,” Lee said in a statement issued afterward. “Can we really say we have done any different in the case of Darfur, South Sudan, Abyei, and Nuba? We declared genocide in 2004, but we failed to act decisively to stop it. If we had acted then, we could have saved many innocent people. If we do the right thing now, we can save children from a certain death and end the suffering for millions.”

The campaign (though obviously not each individual’s own fast) will continue until Congress adjourns in August. Payne began a four-day, water-only fast May 10. Among those who’ve also fasted are Virgin Group founder and chairman Sir Richard Branson and actress Mia Farrow, the latter of whom was at Tuesday’s news conference.

Lee spokesman Ricci Graham said she’s starting her fast today, for a length yet to be determined.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR

    Good idea, some of these Dems could stand to lose a few pounds. If they really wanted to identify with repressed people in The Sudan, a lot of them would have to disappear.