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East Meadow walk seeks to end world genocide

Participants in Jewish World Watch's inaugural East Meadow

Participants in Jewish World Watch's inaugural East Meadow Walk to End Genocide make their way through Eisenhower Park on Sunday, April 27, 2014. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Organizers of a walk Sunday morning in East Meadow to end worldwide genocide called for action against violence in Sudan and other countries.

"We need to raise our voices and put pressure on world leaders to send troops" overseas to stop people from being killed, said Beth Lilach, senior director of education and community affairs for the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County. "If enough people raise their voices, then we could possibly see a world without genocide."

Genocide in countries and regions such as Sudan, Colombia and Darfur continues, but organizers hope the walk will bring awareness and prevention, Lilach said.

Her comments came shortly before the Walk to End Genocide began Sunday at Eisenhower Park.

About 200 people participated in the 1.5-mile walk sponsored by California-based Jewish World Watch in conjunction with the Holocaust memorial center and The Workmen's Circle in Manhattan, said Staci Davis, director of I.L. Peretz Jewish School in East Meadow, an after-school Jewish cultural program. Many of the participants were students at the school.

Organizers said this is the East Coast's first Jewish World Watch walk to end genocide.

Similar events have been held for several years in California and there were three others throughout that state Sunday, organizers said.

Long Island walkers were charged a $5 fee, with proceeds going toward furnishing Sudanese refugees staying in United Nations camps with solar cookers, which allows the girls and young women who do the cooking to avoid searching for firewood.

The UN provides food for the refugees, officials said, but many don't have cooking equipment.

Leaving the refugee camps to look for firewood puts them at risk of being raped or killed.

Davis' son, Dylan, 17, of East Meadow, said the walk will help educate and bring attention to genocide and, he hopes, compel more people to speak up and take action.

"It's sad that it continues to happen, but regardless, we should try to step up and try to stop it," Dylan Davis said.

He said the cookers "help save lives."

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