David Weinberg will call his mother in Toronto on Sunday morning, as usual, to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Sunday afternoon he’ll make another call (for an end to the genocide in Sudan) as the leader of a rally in Central Park.
Weinberg, 23, a senior at Yeshiva University, is the founding director of Not Now Not Ever, a nonprofit organization he and two Stern College students launched a few months ago to protest the ongoing Sudan tragedy. The group already has gone national.
The Not Now Not Ever rally will begin at 4:30 p.m. at a clearing in the park near 72nd Street and West End Avenue. About 3,000 people, many of them fellow college students from several states, are expected at the event, Weinberg said.
Speaking to those who usually spend Mother’s Day with their families, he said, "We want to say … there are thousands of people being ravaged thousands of miles away."
Sudan has been the site of mass killings and forced slavery at the hands of the African country’s Islamic government since a civil war with Christians and animists in the south began two decades ago. Estimates of the number of Sudanese killed is in the high six figures, and millions have become refugees.
Weinberg, with Cindy Bernstein and Rebecca Stone from Stern, became interested in the topic as students this term in a videoconference class on "National Sovereignty and Human Rights."
"It’s about genocide," said Weinberg, whose family lost relatives in Poland during the Holocaust. "We have to make people understand that ‘Never again!’ is more than an empty slogan. We want to create public awareness. Public awareness will create political pressure. We can make a difference."
He and the Stern students contacted friends and human right activists at campuses across the country.
The Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish World Service, whose president, Ruth Messinger, will speak at Sunday’s rally, have supported the students’ "very grassroots thing. YU has been remarkably helpful," Weinberg said.
Not Now Not Ever plans to hold a national rally "on a much bigger scale" in Washington this summer, he said.
On Sunday, Weinberg said he will introduce the speakers and coordinate the event. Afterward, he’ll call his mother again.
For information about the rally, call Not Now Not Ever at (646) 302-4761; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.