Movement Spotlight: Tennessee Governor's School Students

a recent story from our movement

Posted by OBS Team on June 22nd, 2019

The University of Memphis serves as the host of the Governor's School for International Studies, which takes place on the UofM Campus each year during the month of June. Some of the brightest high school students from across the state of Tennessee participate in this program each year, and our organization serves as the nonprofit parter for the student's service days.

This year our staff spent the evening of June 20 with the students having an open discussion about the crisis in Sudan and how they could be involved. Going into June 21, the students brought their newfound passion for the Sudanese people and their creativity into the campaign design process. 

This year, the students split into two groups and focused on the following campaigns for our organization:

1. Refreshing the Heart of Nuba fundraising campaign, which supports Mother of Mercy Hospital in the oppressed Nuba Mountains of Sudan.

2. Creating two statewide advocacy campaigns for a House resolution and Senate resolution, both of which focus on the ongoing and most recent crisis in Sudan that began in December 2018. 

Following a morning of working on these three campaigns, the students spent the afternoon participating in them. 

The fundraising team focused their efforts on the Heart of Nuba Campaign. We've been running this campaign since late 2016 as one way people can support Mother of Mercy Hospital, which is the only referral hospital in the war-torn Nuba Mountains region of Sudan. 

The campaign has received only minor updates the last few years, so it was due for a major overhaul. The students watched the Heart of Nuba film about the hospital before diving into redesigning fundraising and donation pages. We will also be releasing a new campaign video in the next few weeks. 

The advocacy group focused their efforts on two new Congressional resolutions:

  • House Resolution 432: Condemning the attacks on peaceful protesters and supporting an immediate peaceful transition to a civilian-led democratic government in Sudan
  • Senate Resolution 188: A resolution encouraging a swift transfer of power by the military to a civilian-led political authority in the Republic of the Sudan, and for other purposes

Both resolutions do similar things: legally-speaking they are non-binding, but they do pile on pressure against Sudan's ruling junta, bring more awareness to the situation in Sudan, and push for needed changes in U.S. foreign policy. 

The students reviewed both resolutions and designed state-wide advocacy campaigns for each one. They made call-scripts, email templates, and social media images for sharing. You can see the House campaign here and Senate campaign here


Following their hard work on these three campaigns, the students had an opportunity to pilot their designs together! 

First, the students called their Senators and respective Representative about H.Res 432 and S.Res 188. They scored an early victory  and received word that Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee's 9th District was becoming a cosponsor! Most other calls went well, but have not yielded results as of the time of this post.

The only negative response we received was from Senator Lamar Alexander's Nashville office. His staff was incredibly combative and irresponsible, hanging up on constituents and accusing one of the students of being paid to call. Not cool Senator. 

Next, the students created a Heart of Nuba fundraising team and their own individual pages to ask their friends and family to get involved. 90 minutes of live fundraising led to over $6,000 being raised for Mother of Mercy Hospital!

In the coming weeks, these new and improved campaigns will be further tweaked by our staff and pushed out to our movement. We want to thank Governor's School and the University of Memphis for inviting us to work with the students for another year. They all have bright futures ahead of them, and we are excited to be able to educate them on important global issues. 

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The people of Sudan are overcoming two of the greatest challenges facing humanity today: war and genocide. Operation Broken Silence is accelerating their ability to generate lasting change by funding storytelling and movement-building, education and emergency response, and grassroots advocacy programs. Here are a few ways you can join us:

1. Give Monthly To The Education In Yida. The Renewal is our unstoppable family of monthly givers who never stop fighting for change. They give automatically each and every month to the two schools we sponsor in Yida Refugee Camp, providing consistent support to 24 teachers and nearly 1,100 students from the Nuba Mountains. Right now, the schools are short about $2,500 in monthly funding. LEARN MORE »

2. Become A Fundraiser. If you can’t give monthly right now, you can start an online fundraising page for the schools in Yida or Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains warzone. BECOME A FUNDRAISER »

3. Give Once. Not ready to commit with a monthly gift or fundraising yet? That’s okay, making a one-time gift is the best next step to get your feet wet! GIVE HERE »

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