The goal of my Girl Scout Gold Award project is to raise awareness of and protest ongoing mass atrocities and genocides and to help people in my community understand how to take action.
Over the past 2 years, I have organized the making of over 3,500 handcrafted bones at Oak Park River Forest High School and in the Oak Park,IL community to create local awareness about ongoing genocides around the world and to contribute to the One Million Bones project, a visual protest against genocide. By registering my bone making events with Students Rebuild, each bone made in my community made generated $1 from the Bezos Family Foundation for CARE’s work in Congo and Somalia.
On June 8-9, 2013, my volunteer team, with many of my fellow girl scouts, joined Team Great Lakes and thousands of other One Million Bones volunteers and activists dressed in white to lay over 1,000,000 handcrafted bones on the National Mall in Washington DC as a visual protest against ongoing genocides and mass atrocities. See my photo gallery and video gallery pages and check out even more of my One Million Bones photos on flickr.
On June 10, 2013, I served as the Illinois/Arkansas group lead with the Enough Project Act Against Atrocities Day to meet with legislators on Capitol Hill about current legislation to address ongoing conflicts and mass atrocities in Congo and Sudan. I was able to meet with staff in the offices of Representative Davis (IL), Representative Womack (AR), Senator Durbin (IL) and I met with Senator Boozman (AR) and his staff. Our efforts were largely successful. As of July 10, 2013:
- S. Res. 144 on Congo was passed through the full Senate by unanimous consent.
- H. Res. 131 on Congo has passed through the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the next step is a vote by the full House of Representatives.
- Senator Coons’ Atrocity Prevention Letter was sent to President Obama, along with signatures from New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich and Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.
- Representative Gerry Connolly of Virginia spoke about One Million Bones and the need to address genocide on the floor of the House of Representatives on June 25.
- 15 representatives cosponsored H. R. 1692 on Sudan, eight senators cosponsored S. Res. 144 on Congo, and seven representatives cosponsored H. Res. 131 on Congo. We are still working for additional bi-partisan co-sponsorship.
There is still much more to be done!
In 2013-2014, I am forming a STAND chapter at my high school to help students STAND up to bring an end to mass atrocities. Join me.
I also plan to continue to pursue having Illinois join other states in creating legislation to make April Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. We are making progress: my Illinois State Senator, Don Harmon, has drafted legislation and my State Representative, Camille Lilly, has co-sponsored the legislation.
I am continuing my work with the Enough Project on genocide prevention legislation and focusing next on raising awareness in my Oak Park, IL community of how choosing products with conflict-free minerals can have in impact in limiting the funding of the root causes of mass atrocities.