Category Archives: General

African Studies Academy Speakers!

African Studies Academy events Spring 2011

 The African Studies Academy at UNC Charlotte will host three exciting outside speakers this semester. Please mark your calendars and share this information widely to encourage many students, faculty, and staff to attend. Reminders and additional information will be circulated as each date approaches.

Thursday, March 17 “The Role of African Youth in Post-Conflict Reconstruction”

David Mwambari Rwandan genocide survivor and Sanejo co-founder

( 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Barnard 244

Co-sponsored by the Chancellor’s Diversity Fund, Office of International Programs, and Department of Africana Studies Wednesday


April 6 “The Post-Electoral Crisis in Cote d’Ivoire: A Crisis of Legitimacy”

Dr. Guy Martin Professor of Political Science, Winston-Salem State University

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Barnard 244 Thursday


April 28 “The Friction on the Dance Floor: Contesting Popular Music and Power in Post-War Accra, 1945-1960”

Dr. Nathan Plageman Assistant Professor of History, Wake Forest University 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Barnard 244

Co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology Please let me know if you have any questions, and we look forward to seeing you at these events!


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Us + Electronics = the funding of genocide.

 The war over coltan is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of over five million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1998.

Electronics Fund Genocide :  We The People Politics

Genocide has been going on in Africa for decades now and, for some reason, they have been able to fund their operations even when countries around the world have backed off and not provided funding for those countries. In 2003, the Kimberely Process Certification Scheme was put into place in which countries could opt into the program where they’d agree to not allow the importing of diamonds that came from conflict areas. In other words, “blood diamonds” could not be purchased in countries that agreed with it. In a few years, this greatly reduced the number of diamonds purchased from conflict areas which limited the funds of these militants.

The same thing has started again, but this time, with the minerals that are used in items such as laptops and cell phones. Coltan and niobium are required for cell phones to function properly because, especially for coltan, it allows for smaller chips to work more effectively which is necessary in tiny cell phones. The downfall of this, though, is that each year, militant groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo make over $180 million a year on the control and trade of mines of all sorts of minerals including the coltan that is necessary for cell phones. In other words, when an American purchases a cell phone, they could be inadvertently funding genocide.

Funny how there was a phone ad directly beside this article…

Regulate Conflict Minerals to Help Save Lives in the Congo

(Tell the SEC that lives are more important than gadgets! Please sign this petition)

No Blood For Gadgets.

In response to the Dodd-Frank Act we helped pass, The Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) is proposing a number of regulations placed on conflict minerals to require full disclosure, but many mining and electronic companies are encouraging the SEC to loosen its regulations to make it easier for them to trade.

I am immensely concerned that things we use everyday, our phones, our laptops, our game systems, our mp3 players, are FUNDING GENOCIDE.  They are contributing to the exploitation, murder, and displacement of so many people and the ongoing internal destruction of people, cultures, families, and a country.  I text, listen to music, and check my email all day long.  I know so many people who religiously update their electronics, and the rest of us are forced to quite often anyway because of the fast pace of technology and the cheap construction of our purchases.  I think there should be full disclosure on the part of electronic companies pertaining to conflict minerals.  If conflict minerals are directly linked to rape, murder, and displacement, there doesnt seem to be any other logical option.  Its not fair to consumers that they spend hard earned money on products they need in their daily life, and then those same dollar bills fresh out of their wallet go to an electronic company, who is purchasing conflict minerals from militant groups who control and trade mines.  Its an outrage.  That is not where I want my money to go.  My texting is not worth peoples lives.  And the worst part? Is that most of us go about our daily lives blissfully unaware of how our world really works.  And what its all about.  Money.  Not Love, not Life, but money.  How our world can be turned upside down into a twisted, violent, genocidal nightmare all because of some pieces of paper is beyond me.  As activists, we cannot STAND for this.  we have to represent a better way.  We have to advocate for change. 

UNC Charlotte STAND is participating in the Eco Cell Project and recycling old cell phones to raise funds for STAND and the Genocide Intervention Network!!

To turn in phones contact me, Stephanie Mauvlyn Braun, 828-291-6467,,

-phones do not need to be working!  If you have old phones or know of anyone who does, send them my way!!/group.php?gid=111651128850934

The Genocide Behind Your SmartPhone

It takes a lot to snap people out of apathy about Africa’s problems. But in the wake of Live Aid and Save Darfur, a new cause stands on the cusp of going mainstream. It’s the push to make major electronics companies (manufacturers of cell phones, laptops, portable music players, and cameras) disclose whether they use “conflict minerals” — the rare metals that finance civil wars and militia atrocities, most notably in Congo.

The issue of ethical sourcing has long galvanized human-rights groups. In Liberia, Angola, and Sierra Leone, the notorious trade in “blood diamonds” helped fund rebel insurgencies. In Guinea, bauxite sustains a repressive military junta. And fair-labor groups have spent decades documenting the foreign sweatshops that sometimes supply American clothing stores. Yet Congo raises especially disturbing issues for famous tech brand names that fancy themselves responsible corporate citizens.

A key mover behind the Congo campaign is the anti-genocide Enough Project: witness its clever spoof of the famous Apple commercial.

(This video was also on Sarah Silvermans Twitter!) : )

More on Companies associated with conflict minerals!



Also keep in mind that, 

  • Cell phones include coltan, a mineral extracted in the deep forests of Congo in central Africa, home to the world’s endangered lowland gorillas.
  • Fueled by the wordwide cell phone boom, Congo’s out-of-control coltan mining business has in recent years led to a dramatic reduction of animal habitat and the rampant slaughter of great apes for the illegal bush-meat trade.   
  • Recycling cell phones protects landfills from the many  potentially hazardous chemicals found in the phones, including antimony, arsenic, copper, cadmium, lead, and zinc.

 Student action needed to end conflict minerals

Would you still buy your cell phones, TVs and laptops knowing the blood, war and rape behind the parts that make up your technology?


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Darfur Bleeds

Having dabbled in the world of multimedia, I have just been pointed to an amazing organization called Witness. Their mission is to use video and online technologies to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. Personally, video advocacy has been something I have wanted to invest in for a long time, but lacked the tools to do so. In this age of globalization and within our generation that is so technology-oriented, I believe this is a very efficient way of reaching people who would never pick up a book about genocide. This realm of advocacy has so far been very limited, but that is why Witness is so great. The Hub, which is within Witness, is the first global platform that is using media to inspire action. This is huge. Here is one of the videos, Darfur Bleeds, that I think is worth seeing because it gives names of the victims of an attack on Jawara. Putting names to the bodies is the first step in restoring their personal humanity.




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Tonight, we received an award for Best New Student Organization on campus!  This is a very prestigious award given once a year at the Student Organization Excellence Awards Banquet.

THANK YOU!  We could never have done it without all of your help.  I want to give a special thank you to people who went above and beyond what we expected.

Michael Smith: always there for the organization.  Your work as treasurer this year was so helpful and I turly appreciate all that you do!

Ben Potter: We’ve pulled a few all nighters together making copies, writing press releases, etc.  I would never have made it through without you.

Others: Scott Koplin, Megan Poole, Brandon Knight, Tara Pressley, Jay Patel, Alex Cruz, Liana Blue, Ashley Reaves, Alyssa Reynolds, Paige Daniels, Sabrina Goins, Angie Niziol, Michael Claiborne, and so, so many others.  You guys are amazing and definitely deserve honorable mention!

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The Art of Reversing Digression


Assalamu-laikum STANDers!

This obviously is our new blog! I have been an avid blogger for years, but have used it strictly for personal use, and not for a specific cause with an organization. Some of you may be thinking that I was against doing something like this in the past, and well, you may be right. I have never advocated against the use of blogs in the political arena, but instead have expressed my concern that they are often used as a crutch or an excuse for not actually getting out of your computer chair and taking some kind of action. Although I still believe this to be true, I think this blog will be beneficial to STAND at UNCC.

My aspirations in starting this blog is for it to serve as a source of information if you missed a meeting, news updates, updates on STAND as a national organization(new campaigns, conferences, opportunities), and an outlet for any of YOU to express opinions or thoughts relating to genocide, activism, etc. I feel as if we have somewhat deflated and digressed since our Rock for Darfur concert, and now is the time to pick up steam and move forward. My hope is that through this blog we will all feel more of a sense of community within our organization, which will then lead to a loyalty and a motivation to be an active participant. I do not want to be the only contributor to this blog, as I would love for you guys to join me in this project! It will also give me a chance to post pictures, videos, and other fun stuff. Feel free to give me feedback at any time on my posts.

So jumping right in:

Now is the time for STAND to go through a few changes and transitions. We have been in existence at UNCC for a year now, and I am proud to say that we are one of the most active and successful STAND clubs in NC! But, on the downside, we have had a problem with attendance and participation, which has definitely weakened and demoralized us as of late. Although I know(and am guilty of all the time) life gets to be too much sometimes and it is easy to not follow through with things you really wanted or meant to do, flaking out consistently is really holding us back right now. Christa and myself have high expectations for STAND, and have devoted a large part of our lives to this cause. We want all of you to have the same kind of passion and sacrifice, because STAND will not live on after we leave without out it. My desire this semester is to have a core group of students committed to STAND who are reliable, hard-working, and passionate. There should be elections soon, so LEADERS! Step up to the plate and take the torch from me and Christa for next semester. Rise to the occasion to become a leader of an organization that is part of one of the largest student-led movements in U.S. history! I believe in all of you.


Students for a Democratic Society: (SDS) has invited us to join them on March 20th, the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War, for a protest on campus. This protest will be non-violent. I would also like to point out this is not an anti-Bush protest, but just an anti-Iraq War protest. Details will be coming soon, but if you’re interested in STAND getting involved in this, comment and let me know! I certainly would like to. :)

Act Out For Darfur: I came to this event sick and in a bad mood, but I really enjoyed it. CHAIN Reaction did a great job, and they had an amazing turn out. We need to get advice from them about networking. The poems, songs, spoken word, dances, and skits from people with a heart for Darfur was really inspiring, even if they were just learning about the conflict. I was greatly encouraged, so if you weren’t there, you missed out!

Die-In: So as was probably my fault on account of throwing up all morning and not bringing the signs for the die-in, we will reschedule soon. They’re now taking up all the room in my backseat, just waiting in anticipation. I’m loving it. haha. I’m hopeful that the die-in will still be a success…I love die-in’s.

See you at the meeting tomorrow folks, 5pm Friday 032!

peace and love,

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