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UUA president arrested in protest at Sudanese Embassy

President Sinkford among initial signers of Save Darfur Coalition unity statement.
By Staff Writer
November/December 2004 11.1.04

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UUA President William G. Sinkford was arrested August 25 in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., as part of a protest against genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan. More than 30 UUs demonstrated at the embassy, including 10 ministers, out of a group of more than 100. The demonstration followed a special worship service at Washington’s All Soul’s Church, Unitarian.

The protest was part of the “Sudan: Day of Conscience” actions organized by the Save Darfur Coalition. In early August, Sinkford was one of the initial signers of the Coalition’s Unity Statement. The text of the statement is online at www.savedarfur.org. (See link in sidebar.)

Sinkford was held five hours and released. No court appearance was required. Others arrested were actor/activist Danny Glover, Trans-Africa Forum president Bill Fletcher, and Salih Booker and Emira Woods, also from TransAfrica Forum.

In his sermon at All Souls, Sinkford said, “This is a day of conscience. We come to stand in solidarity with persons who are suffering, who are starving, who are dying, who are being raped. Although there are many things we cannot change, we can change what is happening in Sudan.” Sinkford urged congregations to get involved, saying, “If we can help our leaders understand the dimensions of what is unfolding in Darfur, thousands of lives can be saved.”

According to event coordinator Paula Cole Jones, an All Souls member and UUA antioppression consultant, witnessing on behalf of victims on the other side of the world is the right thing to do in and of itself, but it also helps further justice within our own UU communities. Reflecting on the day’s events, Jones said, “When the UUA and our congregations take a public stand around matters of race, our religious community and our faith become more relevant to people of color, and as a result, we become more multicultural.”

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