Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Richardson talks to CHS students about Darfur and the need for diplomacy

From the Nevada Appeal

Richardson talks to CHS students about Darfur and the need for diplomacy

By Jarid Shipley/Appeal Staff Writer,

Monday morning, Carson High School history and government students got a chance to voice their concerns to a man seeking the highest office in the country.

New Mexico governor and presidential hopeful Bill Richardson stopped at the high school to talk to the students about the genocide taking place in the Darfur region of the Sudan.

"I have long felt that we have neglected the third world, including Africa and Latin America," Richardson said.

Richardson spoke about how students and citizens can effect change in Darfur as well as his solution to the ongoing struggles in the region.

"American not only has a responsibility to protect its interests, to protect us from a terrorist attack, but also look at countries and regions like Darfur and help them out," Richardson told the students.

Richardson was in the area two months ago and has helped negotiate the release of three American Red Cross workers and an American journalist taken captive in the region.

Richardson also praised the students for their recent fundraising drive, which garnered $825 to help provide relief to refugee camps through Catholic Relief Services.

"I feel like the world kind of stood by with Rwanda, we didn't do anything and it's happening again," said Will Houk, the CHS history teacher who organized the fundraiser. "I want the students to believe in being a part of the world community and how important that is to history."

Students are holding a silent auction fundraiser from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday at the Starbucks in the Wal-Mart shopping center on College Parkway. The auction includes rounds of golf, a Starbucks coffee maker and a night at the Bliss Mansion.

"With this fundraiser you are doing what I believe all Americans should do, care about all areas, not just areas of strategic importance," Richardson said.

Sophomore Jessie Sinclair had the honor of introducing Richardson and said she hoped he would share ways to help. "I want him to talk about how we can stop what's going on in the Sudan. I don't know if anyone can answer that question but I'd like to ask him how he would do it," Sinclair said.

Richardson also put forth a four-part proposal to help end the situation in Darfur, which included providing humanitarian aid to the region, pushing for economic sanctions both from the U.S. and members of the United Nations, deploying U.N. peacekeepers to the region and making the genocide a national issue in the United States.Richardson cautioned however, that he would not advocate sending U.S. troops into the area, instead opting for U.N. peacekeepers.

"I believe America doesn't need another conflict, we need more diplomacy," he said.

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