West Texas Rock

Folks in Midland, Texas, are fed up with slavery and they aren't going to take it anymore. In a major rally against slavery in Sudan and a "Rock the Desert" Christian music festival that drew more than 30,000 Christian youth, organizers in Midland shined a light on Sudan as one of the world's worst violators of human and religious rights. The concert's top billing went to musician Ken Tamplin, who has donated all artist royalties from his recording Make Me Your Voice to aid persecuted Sudanese Christians.

"Concern about Sudan ranges from churches to rock stars," said Jesse Sage of the Anti-Slavery Group (www.iAbolish.com). The group now has 20,000 activists, many of them students, said Sage. Rev. Ray Hammond, who went to Sudan from Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, said it was "sweet irony" for a descendant of slaves like himself to help slaves in modern Africa. "Beyond the task of emancipation is the challenge to bring peace and development to southern Sudan," he said. The slave trade in Sudan has flourished during a 17-year civil war that has produced 2 million deaths and 5 million displaced persons.

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