Brenda Butler and La Amistad Learning Academy
Brenda Butler, a teacher from Orlando, Florida, began educating about Darfur as an extension of her Holocaust Studies class. She teaches at La Amistad Learning Academy, which helps young people dealing with difficult life circumstances. Brenda strives through this course to teach the students about working together, finding common ground, helping people they have never met, and not allowing themselves to be bystanders. She showed the students the DVD, Witnessing Darfur: Genocide Emergency, to introduce them to the conflict in western Sudan. As Brenda began teaching about Darfur, the students were captivated, quickly immersing themselves in learning about the conflict, and carefully monitoring the action – and inaction – of the international community.
Many students questioned the lack of response to the victims of Darfur asking, “Why won’t somebody do something?” As students’ involvement with the plight of the Darfuris deepened, a new question arose: “Why don’t we do something?” The students created the Darfur Project, an educational awareness and fundraising campaign to alert others to the crisis in Darfur and teach them how they could help. They created and distributed a brochure about Darfur and genocide prevention that informed readers what actions they could take, and designed t-shirts to raise both funds for humanitarian aid and awareness on a grassroots level.