i-ACT has been working with Triangles of Truth for over two years. Their global network of students and advocates support education projects in the camp by honoring Holocaust victims. They caught up with Alexxa Evangelista, an outstanding Triangles of Truth advocate.
??What exactly are you fundraising for?
Since I was a little kid I’ve loved school and I’ve always been really involved in my community and helping others. I used to raise money for children to go to sleep away camp every year and this campaign let me continue that in another way. I just want to continue my passion for helping others and give them the opportunity to love school as much as I do.
How did you get involved?
?I got involved through my teacher Ms. Kay in my holocaust studies class at Boca High and it’s been an amazing ride this far.
What has been the reaction of the community??
In my community everyone has been really shocked not only at what a good cause this is but how big we are making it and how drastic the tragedies are in Darfur. It just shows how little people know about the fatalities over there.
Why is this a worthwhile cause for teens in Florida and elsewhere to partake in?
I think this cause shows teens everywhere that there’s something bigger out there and that it’s really the little things that do make a difference and can make someone’s life just that much better. It goes to show how little we can give here in our worlds to help others do so much more.
Do you have any tips or suggestions for others looking to start their?own campaign?
The only advice I have is to keep sending it out to anyone you can think of and try to get the best results as possible, not only in monetary form but in feedback and that in itself is the real success.
Over the last few weeks, tens of thousands of newly displaced refugees have arrived at the border between Darfur and Chad. Entire families have lived through unimaginable violence, the destruction of their homes, and a harrowing walk to relative safety.
Please send a message of support and solidarity to the mothers of Darfur by recording a short, personal message (2 minutes or less), speaking directly to a mother. You can create a “video response” as a comment to our youtube video or send your video link to email@example.com.
At the end of May, the i-ACT team is traveling to refugee camps in eastern Chad, where some of the displaced are being transported to. We will deliver your video-messages along with some supplies to mothers and their children.
You may also contribute to Care Packages of supplies that our team will purchase locally to give to the newly arriving mothers and their families.
On Wednesday April 17, i-ACT set up Camp Darfur at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, CA. Students from Martha Kermott’s sophomore class hosted each tent and the Little Ripples information table. During each period teachers of the Upper School visited the tents and learned from their peers about mass atrocities and genocide. Dr. Mike Riera, Head of School, wrote the following email to the entire Brentwood School community about the experience.
Letter of the Week: Unexpected Opportunity
by Dr. Mike Riera, Head of School
On Wednesday, I spent some time at the sophomore History Project: Darfur Refugee Camps. I circulated through the tents representing five different instances of genocide: Armenia, Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan. (See the article in Teaching and Learning for a more thorough description of the installation.) Listening to the presentations, viewing photos, and talking to our students moved me in a myriad of ways—anger, despair, sadness, shock, guilt, and outrage, just to name a few. There was a lot to take in.
The variety of these strong feelings permeated the inside of each tent. As students entered to hear the presentations, I watched their body language change from the typical adolescent stride to a retracted walk often seen when people enter a spiritual place. There was a kind of anxious reverence. When they exited the tents, their adolescent walk was slow to resume. As one would hope, their feelings and questions lingered, and it showed.
As I paid attention to students describing the various genocides, I heard a vulnerable and humbled quality in all of their voices. Whether they were describing the event or reading a first hand account, all were visibly shaken by what they were saying. Just as powerful were the reactions to the photos hanging on the walls—images of people who had lived and died in the various camps. The power of the material quite simply cut through the typical adolescent defenses and self-consciousness.
Over the course of the day I spoke with students about their various responses to Camp Darfur. They were quite similar to my own. More impressive, however, was how articulate they were in how they related these experiences to the human condition, power and influence, leadership, group think, and a myriad of other nuanced emotions and concepts. They were maturing right in front of me.
When people ask me what is special about Brentwood, besides the outstanding academics and teachers, I frequently cite the additional focus on the development of emotional intelligence. In my mind, Camp Darfur is one of those clear-cut examples of emotional education in process.
In their groundbreaking 1990 article, Emotional Intelligence, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer defined emotional intelligence as “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” These skills were on display during Camp Darfur. From presenters self-monitoring their content based on peer responses; to students ability, upon reflection, to identify their various and subtle emotions; all the way to using this information to refine and deepen their attitudes on a host of issues, including their own identities. It was profound to see this emotional growth-spurt in action.
Emotional intelligence is not a subject like math or Spanish, rather it frequently exists in the spaces between content. It can be mined and brought into the light of day for clarity or it can be left to go unnoticed and ignored. At Brentwood this aspect of learning is intentionally mined for all its potential, like what happened earlier this week at Camp Darfur.
Have a great weekend.
Thank you Brentwood School and Martha for partnering with i-ACT year after year to raise awareness and funds for Darfuri-led projects in the refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border.
My wife and daughter are eating turkey burgers and salad and chips and maybe other stuff, but I’m not getting too close. I don’t want to see. I have another 30 hours without food to go. Tomorrow, on my third day of fasting, we’ll be driving to Arizona for a genocide event where we’re bringing our “Camp Darfur” tents. I won’t be driving because I’ll be even more lightheaded than right now. More than anything, this is just so different–not eating. I’m so used to reaching for food at any time, and the big problem each day is deciding on what to eat, since we have so many options.
Some years ago, during a visit to refugee camp Oure Cassoni, I followed a mother, as she made it through food distribution. She was collecting her monthly rations for her family of four. Please watch the video. That is what many have been mostly eating for almost ten years. I did the math, and it came out to about just over 1,000 calories per family member per day. Compare that to what you bring home from the market and eat out.
29 hours and 48 minutes to go. I’m not sure yet what I’ll eat after my three days are done. I’ll sign up for other days later on during the 100 Day Fast for Darfur.
PS. You can still join for one or more days of fasting here!
I eat so much. Every day. It’s strange: I think about food so much, and at the same time–I take it for granted. It’s always there, always available. In all of my now long(ish) life, I’ve never had to worry about food. Even when growing up in Mexico, where it was only my Mom with six children and a relatively low income, I never once worried about my next meal. On the contrary, I remember great meals: meats, rice and beans, tortillas, all kinds of fruits and vegetables.
I don’t think I really thought about hunger in any significant way until I started going to the Darfuri refugee camps in Eastern Chad in 2005. Just about everyone I met there had experienced hunger first hand. Many had seen friends and family die from hunger and lack of water, as they walked across the desert escaping the destruction of their village.
I’m now thinking of hunger. I’m hungry, and it’s ridiculous. It’s only noon on day 1 of the 3 days I will be fasting. But I’m so used to just reaching for food at any time! Usually, soon after breakfast, we start to talk about what lunch might be…and then dinner. Plus there’s always snacks in-between, and a late-night one at the end!
It’s now 10 years since the Darfur crisis exploded. The “lucky” Darfuris made it to internally displaced persons (IDP) or refugee camps, where they live off of handouts. Malnutrition can be seen, brightly, on the children in the camps. The orange hair is a clear sign of it. I am hungry right now and will be hungrier the next couple of days, but I know I have food, and more importantly, I know that my children will never worry about whether their next meal will be there or not.
OK, more water for now. At midnight of day 3, I’ll have some good food in front of me. I’m already thinking of what that meal might be.
PS. Join me and many others during the 100 Day Fast for Darfur. Sign up here!
i-ACT has been working with Triangles of Truth for over two years. Their global network of students and advocates support education projects in the camp by honoring Holocaust victims. They caught up with Molli Glickman, an outstanding Triangles of Truth advocate, whose 25% of the way towards her $5,000 goal. Her campaign contributions will benefit Little Ripples, an early childhood education program for Darfuri refugees.
ToT: What exactly are you fundraising for?
MG: I am fundraising for Triangles of Truth. We are a non-profit organization that aims to honor those lost in the Holocaust by remembering the victims by selling triangles in their name and raising awareness for the genocide the world is facing today, namely in Darfur. Triangles of Truth’s current project is to raise enough money to build a school in a refugee camp in Chad, in hopes to give the children there a brighter future with an education!
ToT: ?How did you get involved?
MG: I first got involved with Triangles of Truth this year through my teacher Mrs. Kay. She is the founder of the organization and this year I am enrolled in her Holocaust Studies class where we learn about the atrocities of the Holocaust as well as learning ways to prevent further acts of human injustice. When Mrs. Kay first introduced me to this cause I knew I wanted to put my head and heart into it 150%.
ToT: What has been the reaction of the community?
MG: My community has been nothing but supportive since I have begun my fundraising project. I think the most important tool to help achieve our goal is spreading the knowledge and raising awareness. The more people that we can inform of our mission, the more help and support we can acquire for this incredible cause.
ToT: Why is this a worthwhile cause for teens in Florida and elsewhere to partake in?
MG: I believe this is a worthwhile cause for teens everywhere to participate in because although we seem to be helping people in a very distant place, the very premise of our mission is an issue that affects every living human on this planet, promoting equality and human rights for every human being on this great Earth. Even at such a small scale, it begins with the idea that no one is better than anyone else. No human life is more valuable than the next. And once we can get this feeling on a global scale, I believe that genocide can be reduced to existing only as devastating stories in our history books.
ToT: Do you have any tips or suggestions for others looking to start their?own campaign?
MG: The best advice I could give to someone wanting to start their own campaign would be to have faith in yourself and the confidence to strive for your goals. Don’t ever sell yourself short! Persistence and passion are really the key, and with those two things, I believe anyone can achieve their dreams.