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Keep progress alive in Darfur

State support of UC divestment should be matched with dedicated student involvement

The Time to Protect is Now!

Monday, Sept. 25 was a historic day. Governor Schwarzenegger took action against the genocide in Darfur, Sudan by signing AB 2941 (Koretz-D) and AB 2179 (Leslie-R).

The first bill adopts a targeted and strategic divestment policy for California's pension funds. The second protects the UC Board of Regents from any liability that may result from the March 16 decision to divest from Sudan and allows the UC to proceed with the divestment process.

This legislation is more than a symbolic gesture. It is designed to put economic pressure on companies operating in Sudan that are complacent to the genocide and, more importantly, to put economic pressure on the Sudanese government so that they will be economically inclined to end their murderous campaign in the Darfur region that has already claimed 450,000 lives.

California's divestment will be an example and a catalyst to other divestment efforts across the country. If other pension systems, states, universities and cities adopt a targeted divestment policy, the impact will be magnified and impossible to ignore.

The UCLA Darfur Action Committee remains committed to exerting other forms of pressure against this genocide, which has severely worsened over the summer months.

The DAC's overall goal is to take strong, effective and united nationwide action to help protect the people of Darfur and end the genocide.

As UCLA students, administrators, faculty, staff and community members, we must continue to put pressure on our representatives at the local, state and national levels; we must pressure President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Andrew Natsios (special envoy for Darfur) and Kofi Annan to take strong action and push for the deployment of a strong UN peacekeeping force to save hundreds of thousands of lives.

The time to protect is now.

Garcia is a steering committee member of the Darfur Action Committee. She is a fourth-year international development studies and Chicano studies student.

Darfur Action Committee