From a desire to participate in the internationally recognized Congo Week during the third week of October this year, University of Northern Iowa (UNI) STAND Chapter has requested that a moment of silence be observed at a University of Northern Iowa football game.
This addition to a week-long series of events to raise awareness about the crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been denied for an unexplained reason. When pressed several times for a more complete explanation of the denial, the UNI Athletics Department has largely ignored this question.
The crisis in the DRC has cost the lives over at least 6 million people and seen thousands of women, men, and children raped as a weapon of war. The situation continues to this day. By recognizing these victims at these events we are helping give a voice to the Congolese people and express our solidarity for their struggle. There has been a virtual blackout in the media of this problem that is fueled by our very own laptops, cell phones, and many other electronic devices through conflict minerals like gold, tungsten, tin, and tantalum.
Please urge the UNI Athletics Department to reconsider our request for a simple moment of silence to respect our brothers and sisters of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
LETTER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT AND CONCERNED PARTIES FOR RECOGNITION OF CONGOLESE CONFLICT MOMENT OF SILENCE
We, the undersigned students of the University of Northern Iowa, citizens of the town it resides, and concerned citizens around the world, would like a moment of silence recognized for those millions that have, and continue to, perish and suffer rape on a daily basis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during a UNI football game.
Both of these games coincide with the internationally recognized “Congo Week”, a week-long event where various organizations recognize and raise awareness for the current crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in which 5.4 million have died, and thousands have been raped, as a direct result of the violence between 1993 and 2003 alone. We the undersigned support the efforts of those UNI Students who have organized a week-long series of events that also coincide with Congo Week and who have previously requested that a moment of silence to respect those Congolese victims be observed at these athletic events. Help us to serve students first, corporate sponsors second, and uphold the University of Northern Iowa’s respect for human rights.