Proposed letter to Needham residents
Dear Needham friends,
This letter is coming to you from the World Peace Club (WPC) at Needham High School.
It is part of a town-wide initiative to increase public awareness of the most serious humanitarian crisis on earth today, that being the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan --- the first (and hopefully the last) genocide of the 21st century.
Ethnic strife in the area has thus far led to the slaughter of 400,000 people and the displacement of 2.5 million more (a great many of whom will now die of disease or starvation). While the situation in Darfur is clearly a full-blown holocaust, the general level of awareness of it in the U.S. is still quite low --- hence our mission.
Our idea is to visually transform Needham by having all of its constituents ---- schools, churches/synagogues, businesses, homes --- display banners, window signs or lawn signs demonstrating our town’s solidarity in wishing to bring this humanitarian crisis to the public’s attention. The message is humanitarian, not political. Needham would thus become unique in the whole of the U.S., hopefully making the story newsworthy, certainly in local, but also possibly in national media. There's potential for a "tipping point" effect, such that other towns might undertake similar projects, bringing even more focus on the issue.
You may have seen the May 11 edition of the Needham Times, which contained a nice article on the initiative (with a photo of some of our club members hanging the very first banner at the High School) as well as a “thumbs up” review in the editorial section. Also, the May 18 news on The Needham Cable Channel presented the initiative as one of their feature stories. By now you have probably noticed several large banners displayed at many of Needham’s houses of worship, as well as banners or window signs in many of Needham’s storefronts.
For homeowners we have 18” x 24” lawn signs, available at no charge. We encourage you to participate by displaying one. They are available for pickup at practically all of Needham’s houses of worship, or, if you prefer, they may be ordered for free delivery by a WPC member by simply calling (781) 455-8310 and leaving your name and address.
Our initiative has many potential benefits. Even if no specific impact is made at the policy level, consciousness will surely be raised locally. Needhamites will rightly feel proud of their center-stage position in this effort, as the whole town will be galvanized along the simple humanitarian theme of saving lives. And importantly, young people will learn that they can indeed make a difference in this world.
To learn more about the project and details of the situation in Darfur, and/or to provide feedback, take a look at our blog at http://NeedhamDarfur.blogspot.com.
And although this project is not primarily designed as a fundraiser, those who wish to may make a small contribution to one of the charities specified on the enclosed card (all of which are highly rated by independent rating agencies).
Thank you very much for your time and consideration. We fervently hope you’ll join our effort.
President, World Peace Club
Needham High School