Pint-Sized Lobbyists

  Two dozen kids wearing T-shirts and sneakers stood in front of the U.S. Capitol clutching a huge white banner. Standing behind them were a handful of the most powerful men in America: Senators and Congressmen. And arrayed before them were film and sound crews and reporters from the most influential media organizations in the world.   At last -- after two years of hard work -- the kids had America's attention. They had traveled from Denver to Washington last Thursday to tell the world that a holocaust is taking place in Africa -- and that something dramatic must be done to stop it. It all began two years ago, when Barbara Vogel, a fifth-grade teacher at Highline Community School in Aurora, Colorado, read about the enslavement of black Sudanese Christians by Sudan's radical Muslim regime. When Mrs. Vogel told her class about these modern day slaves, the kids began to cry. And then they asked her, "What can we do about this?" What they did was to form a group called "Slavery That Oppresses People," known as the STOP Campaign. They did a little homework and found out about Christian Solidarity International, a human rights group that redeems slaves and returns them to their families. The kids have contributed by saving their pennies. They have sold lemonade, T-shirts, and even their own toys. They handed in their allowances and caught the interest of corporate donors. Within two years, they'd raised enough money to free nearly two thousand slaves. But that's not all. They began a PR campaign, writing to the media, celebrities, and public officials, including President Clinton. They wanted them to know, not just about slavery, but about the two million Christians who have been killed in Sudan's civil war. And about another million who are on the brink of starvation because the Sudanese government won't allow food aid to get to them. They also wanted them to know about the deliberate targeting of children through the bombing of schools and hospitals. As Mrs. Vogel told reporters this weekend, "This is an African holocaust. This is two million people murdered. Sudanese children are crying out to the world -- but who has heard their cry except other children?" That's why Mrs. Vogel's kids came to Washington: to make sure the rest of the world hears their cries, as well. They met with senators and congressmen, gave speeches at the Lincoln Memorial, and held a press conference. And although President Clinton declined to meet with them, Mrs. Vogel's kids made it clear that they expect the President to do something to stop the slaughter and slavery in Sudan. I say, God bless Mrs. Vogel and her kids. These pint-sized lobbyists, in sneakers and pigtails, have done more to help the persecuted church in Sudan than just about any other group -- something that several Senators acknowledged last week. And that's why they've become known around the world as America's "Little Abolitionists." If you call us here at BreakPoint, we'll tell you about concrete ways you can help these kids and others in the Sudan Campaign achieve their goals. From biblical days onward, people have tried to push children aside, and hush them up. Heaven help anyone who tries to hush up Mrs. Vogel's kids; because to such as these belongs the kingdom of heaven.


Chuck Colson


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