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Organizers hope to raise awareness with Darfur concert

Zimbabwe's Thomas Mapfumo and Blacks Unlimited will perform at Sunday's event.

Published October 18, 2006

The Pinellas County Interfaith Coalition to Save Darfur is planning a concert Sunday to help the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes for refugee camps.

This weekend's event will take place at Skipper's Smokehouse in Tampa and is also being sponsored by radio station WMNF.

The concert will feature Thomas Mapfumo and Blacks Unlimited, performers from Zimbabwe. Mapfumo, sometimes referred to as the "Lion of Zimbabwe," blends traditional Shona mbira music with western instruments to deliver a political message. Citrus County resident Scott Anderson Sutton, 23, will be the evening's keynote speaker. The son of a missionary doctor, Sutton and his family are said to be the only Americans to have lived in Sudan's Darfur region before the crisis developed.

According to some estimates, more than 400,000 people have been killed and close to 3-million civilians displaced by the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, where government-backed Arab militias, or Janjaweed, are destroying communities of African descent.

Organizers of Sunday's concert say money raised will go to the Save Darfur coalition (, a nonprofit alliance of more than 100 organizations.

"What we're trying to do with Darfur is to raise awareness of the horrors," said Stuart Berger, Jewish Community Relations Council coordinator of the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco counties.

. The council was behind the formation of the Interfaith Coalition earlier this year.

"This is 2006 and for things like this to still occur on this planet, we just can't let it happen without trying to stop it."

[Last modified October 17, 2006, 21:54:36]

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