Tens of thousands rallied at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Sunday to urge immediate action against the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. In an effort to mobilize action, urge stronger rebukes and policy by President Bush and the United Nations, and inform the world about the unspeakable tragedy, speakers such as Holocaust survivor Elie Weisel; Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill..; George and Nick Clooney; and a host of others imparted messages of activism, peace and responsibility to the crowd that gathered from across the nation.
As a journalist, it was fascinating and inspiring to watch people who traveled from Washington state join people from Washington, D.C. -- and the rest of the country -- and speak out to bring attention to the plight of Darfuri Sudanese whom they will never meet. In a rare moment of D.C. bipartisanship, this was not a moment to blame politicians or polarize debate. Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., remarked that on this issue, she supports Bush and wants the genocide to end.
There was a determination among the speakers and crowd to join together and figure out how they could collectively stop genocide in this region before society gets to the point where everyone laments, "Never again." Trying to visually capture that emotion was a difficult task, but in the signs of the protesters, the earnest expressions on the faces of those gathered, and the high-wattage star power (needless to say, George Clooney is a large draw), one can get a small sense of the tangible depth of the empathy and the passion for ending this horror felt by everyone at the National Mall.
To check out my photo blog of the rally, click here.