EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL:
April 19, 2010
Jonathan Hutson, Enough Project, 857-919-5130
Florida Students Turn to Facebook To Find Congressional Champion for Congo
Enough Project campaign uses social media to ask Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to Change the Equation for Congo
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On April 19, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) will find some new faces on his/her official Facebook page, as part of an innovative human rights campaign to "Change the Equation for Congo."
Enough Project, local partners and student advocacy groups are launching a five-day effort to gain ten new Congressional sponsors for the Conflict Minerals Trade Act, using Facebook, Twitter, and viral videos. On each of the five days, grassroots supporters will focus on two of the targeted representatives, posting messages on their Facebook walls urging them to co-sponsor the bill, while tweeting this same message and using other innovative social media tools to spread the word.
The Conflict Minerals Trade Act is a bi-partisan bill that, if passed into law, will give consumers a choice to purchase conflict-free electronics products. It must pass through two powerful committees, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, before it can be put to a vote in the full House of Representatives. Each of the ten representatives targeted by Change the Equation for Congo is a member of one of these committees.
Along with the Enough Project and partners, local student advocacy groups will be driving the Change the Equation for Congo effort. Among the participating local groups are chapters of the student-led anti-genocide project STAND from Florida, Arizona, California and other states across the nation.
"We're seeking ten new Congressional champions, including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, to co-sponsor the Conflict Minerals Trade Act," said John Norris, Executive Director of the Enough Project at Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. "This bipartisan bill will help take the fuel out of the conflict by giving consumers a choice to buy conflict-free cell phones and other electronics. Human rights advocates, faith groups and electronics manufacturers alike have praised the bill as a vital step toward creating a practical and enforceable means to end the conflict minerals trade that funds mass atrocities in Congo."
Student groups in Representative Ros-Lehtinen's district have been vocal in pushing for support of the Conflict Minerals Trade Act.
Marilyn Winkle, Florida state representative of the student anti-genocide group STAND says; "It's critical that we urge our congressional leaders to support this bill before another legislative cycle passes. The people of the Congo deserve it."
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, contact Jonathan Hutson, jhutson [AT] enoughproject.org, 857-919-5130.