A few weeks ago, Jeremy Sabath of John Jay Middle School sat and listened at his temple to a refugee from Darfur who fled the land to escape the atrocities that are taking place in this embattled African Country. “It made me want to do something,” he said. Leading a group of about 80 students, the 12 year old has put together a benefit concert at the Katonah Village Library Jammin for Darfur, which will feature Middle and High School aged bands and musicians.
In addition to helping to find students to play, some kids are selling Darfur bracelets and others are designing and putting up posters. “I have a really great group of kids helping me out,” he says. From all the displays of charity hanging off the wrists and the walls, the feeling that they want to make an impact cannot be denied in the halls of John Jay.
They wish they could say the same for the adults in the world – at least the ones in power. From his research into the tragedy, Jeremy said the U.N. and governments around the world are doing, “surprisingly little.”
Even worse, the government in power in Darfur supports a group called the Janjaweed, who are perpetrating violence on civilians based on religious beliefs. “They are killing people because of their religion,” he said.
Despite all this, Jammin for Darfur has taken a tangible approach that can have a direct impact on the suffering taking place. In order to cook, women and children seek out fire wood in the brush. There they often face serious injury and death at the hands of the Janjaweed.
Jeremy learned of something called Solar Cookers International at the temple. With the intense sunlight characteristic to the area, the cookers eliminate the need for firewood, along with any encounters with the Janjaweed. Jeremy immediately saw this as the perfect use for donations raised and a pragmatic cause for students to rally around.
But they’re not counting out adults in their efforts to have an impact. The Jammers are putting out a call for some help with the musical festivities. “It would be wonderful if we could get a few professional musicians,” he said, and student participation definitely isn’t limited to John Jay.
So far, the effort has produced that kind of effect, according to Jeremy’s mom, Karen. She’s helped with a lot of the web page work and basic mechanics. Otherwise, family friends are quick to ask what they can do to help, but she proudly credits Jeremy with doing the real leg work. With him doing all the calling and contacting, she said, “We’re really supporting him all we can, but he’s driving the bus.”
In addition, the Temple continues to energize itself off of Jeremy’s work. Ms. Sabath recently got an email from a fellow congregation member trying to organize another event. After hearing of Jeremy’s Jam, the temple is now trying to get someone from Human Rights Watch to speak at the benefit in Katonah.
Beside the music, that’s exactly the type of synergy the kids would like. “We’re hoping to raise awareness so other people can do things to help raise more money,” he concluded.
Rich Monetti interview of Jeremy Sabath and Karen Sabath