The Price of Romance

150 150 Rapaport News

On February 14, student groups around the country will be sending a powerful message to their peers, the diamond industry and Congress about the need for effective legislation banning the importation of Conflict Diamonds into the United States.

Some of the world’s most beautiful gems are helping fund violent and brutal rebel insurgencies across Africa, most notably in Sierra Leone where the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) finances their brutal campaign by selling illicit diamonds onto the world market. They are best known for their trademark crime; cutting off the limbs and body parts of innocent men, women, children and babies. The RUF has ravaged Sierra Leone and its people for too long.

Until an international certification system is in place and fully enforced by critical countries like the United States, the diamonds used to fund the RUF will continue to find their way into jewelry stores across the United States and other countries. No jeweler can guarantee that the symbol of love you are buying is not a Blood Diamond.

The Clean Diamonds Act will be introduced in February of this year. We would like the bill to be passed by July 4th. We need your help to rally support for The Clean Diamonds Act. The time to act is now!

Plan to stage at least two events between now and July using the ideas below to help you get started:

• Hold education-leafletting events in front of Tiffany, Cartier, Walmart and Zales stores urging consumers to get their member of Congress to support The Clean Diamonds Act. (download fliers)

• Send materials and information to your local newspapers urging them to cover the issue of conflict diamonds and The Clean Diamonds Act.

(contact papers in your area)

• Get your Mayor or City Council to pass a resolution or declare a Day without Diamonds in solidarity with the women, children and men of Sierra Leone who have lost their lives or their limbs or have been tortured because of Conflict Diamonds.

• Post and distribute flyers on campus or in your neighborhoods explaining the issue of Conflict Diamonds. (download fliers)

• Set-up a computer terminal in a public area and ask other students to send an e-mail or letter to their representatives in Congress and the diamond industry.

• Send petitions to the diamond industry urging that they support The Clean Diamonds Act. (download petitions)

• Commit people to sending the Conflict Diamond e-mail animation to ten of their friends. This e-mail animation will be circulated a week before Valentine’s Day and we will send it to you.

• Organize a call-in to local Congressmen and other influential members of the community.

• Any other ideas that you come up with and think would be successful.

For more information contact Amanda Blair at africa@aiusa.org or 202-544-0200 for more information, supplies, and SUPPORT!

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