Simon Deng, a member of the Shilluk tribe from Southern Sudan as a
Christian, was persecuted during the Civil War era between the Muslims
and Christians in Sudan. Simon was taken as a youth and enslaved by
Northern Arab Sudanese during the conflict. Having the fortitude and
good fortune to escape, Simon eventually became the national
long-distance swimming champion in Sudan and immigrated to the United
States in 1990, settling in New York City where he still resides,
serving as lieutenant lifeguard at Coney Island.
Despite the great personal anguish of reliving the horrors of his
childhood, Simon began telling his personal story in 1998, after reading
an article in the New York Times about slaves still being bought and
sold in Sudan for $10. In the spring of 2006, Simon partnered with
recently deceased basketball star and Sudanese icon Manute Bol as well
as New York-based activist David Bredhoff to create and lead the first
Sudan Freedom Walk from New York City to Washington, D.C. The Freedom
Walk achieved the passage of the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of
2005 and garnered the participation of major political forces such as
President George W. Bush as well as Senators Hillary Clinton, Sam
Brownback, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Barbara
Lee, Joseph Crowley, Betty McCollum, Chris Van Hollen, and former
Washington, D.C. Mayor Reverend Walter Fauntroy.
Pursuant to the 2004 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Southern Sudan
will vote in a referendum in January, 2011 to decide whether or not to
secede from the North. With this imminent critical juncture in mind,
and the necessity of ensuring compliance to the 2004 agreement for peace
to remain in Sudan, Simon knew he had to do something again. His old
partner David Bredhoff, having returned from the Peace Corps in
Mozambique proposed replicating the first walk, and doing so in
coordination with a Darfuri-led organization to demonstrate a symbolic
unity between Southern Sudanese and Darfuri refugees in their fight for
justice in their homeland. The deeply
commited, Philadelphia-based Darfur Human Rights Organization of the USA
(DHRO) provided the a perfect partner for Simon and David. DHRO is led
by distinguished Darfuri leader Dr. Abdel Gabar Adam, who walked over
100 miles in the first freedom walk and galvanized Sudanese support
along the East Coast.
The focus of The Sudan Freedom Walk 2010 is to fight for democracy and freedom from genocide and slavery throughout Sudan.
Each day of walking will begin at 10am at the destinations listed on
the route below. The opening rally on September 15th at the United
Nations will start at 12pm and the walk will begin at 1pm.
September 15 – Rally at United Nations, New York City, Walk to Fort Lee, NJ (10 miles)
September 16 – Fort Lee to Hoboken, NJ (9 miles)
September 17 – Hoboken to Newark (14 miles)
September 18 – Newark to Rahway (10 miles)
September 19 – Rahway to New Brunswick (11 miles)
September 20 – New Brunswick to Princeton (15 miles)
September 21 – Princeton to Trenton (11 miles)
September 22 – Trenton to Langhorne, PA (17 miles)
September 23 – Event with Newton Friends School, Langhorne, PA�
September 24 – Langhorne PA to Philadelphia, PA (20 miles)
September 25 – Rally in Philadelphia and event with Drexel University
September 26 – Philadelphia to Swarthmore (11 miles)
September 27 – Swarthmore to Wilmington (17 miles)
September 28 – Wimington to Newark (13 miles)
September 29 – Newark to Elkton (8 miles)
September 30 – Elkton to Havre De Grace (16 miles)
October 1 – Havre De Grace to Bel Air(15 miles)
October 2 – Bel Air to Parkville (17 miles)
October 3 – Parkville to Baltimore (7 miles)
October 4 – Baltimore to Laurel (19 miles)
October 5 – College Park to Washington (10 miles)
October 6 – Meetings with Federal Representatives
October 7 – Rally on Capitol Hill, Washington DC
Day 1: New York City
Begin @ Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
885 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10017-2201
West on 47th Street to 7th Avenue
North on 7th Ave. to Central Park
Walk North in Central Park until exit at 7th Avenue
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