How Sir Richard Branson Reminded Me Why I'm an Activist
During my first week in Washington while participating in the Machon Kaplan summer program, I have encountered many activists on the streets talking up their cause; whether it be Greenpeace or Nothing But Nets. I myself am an activist - I stand outside in the cold and heat raising awareness about causes, thus providing my voice as one for the voiceless victims who would otherwise be forgotten members of our global society.
People always ask me why I am an activist. I have spent many hours pondering this question, but always come back to my Jewish faith, a faith that taught me two simple sayings that shape the way I view the world; Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof, or "Justice, justice shall you pursue," and the idea that we are all created B'tzelem Elohim, or in the image of God.
In April, actress/activist Mia Farrow began a Fast for Darfur. When her health took a turn and she was unable to continue, Sir Richard Branson took over the fast, which has since been carried on by different activists around the world, including the RAC's Rabbi David Saperstein, who was joined by moree than 80 rabbis worldwide in a fast last Thursday. Upon taking over the fast, Sir Branson said some very powerful words that made me understand why I am an activist. His remarks are below, and the second half is here.
It is our responsibility as Jews to live the words of "never again" by making sure that each one of us does our part to ensure that genocide does not happen - and if it does, we do our part to stop it.Today, I challenge you to join Olympic Gold Medalist Joey Cheek in his third day of fasting. For more information on the fast please visit Fast Darfur.
I understand that for many, fasting is not an option, but there are other action steps that you can take like signing petitions that ask President Obama to act on his campaign promises to the people of Darfur and ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to end violence against women. For general information about the conflict in Darfur and how you can get involved please visit the Save Darfur Coalition or the RAC's resources on Darfur.