Today I join my good friend and congressional colleague Donald Payne in calling on all states to divest from companies doing business in Sudan. I want to especially thank the Sudan Divestment Taskforce and the Genocide Intervention Network for working so hard on this issue. This movement started at UCLA and Swarthmore College and has gained recognition over the last two years.  I also would like to thank all of the students in attendance.  So many young people are embracing this issue.  I commend them and urge them to remain vigilant.
For over 20 years the government of Sudan engaged in a brutal Civil War with the people of southern Sudan. This conflict took the lives of over 2 million people.  During this time slavery flourished and terrorism took root in Sudan.  In 2003 a conflict in Sudan's Darfur region broke out.  The government reacted by unleashing a war on innocent people and began the genocide.  That was three years ago. Over 400,000 people have died since and over 2 million continue to be at risk. 
I led the first congressional delegation to Darfur.  I witnessed the horror these people live with day to day and the impact of decades of war.  Just last week the United Nations reported fresh ongoing attacks.  There is no question that the government of Sudan orchestrated and continues to direct the genocide in Darfur. In one village, 27 of the people that were killed were children under the age of 12.  The United Nations is working to try to get desperately needed U.N. troops on the ground but the government of Sudan continues to reject this deployment. 
Targeted divestment from companies doing business in Sudan is an action that can make a difference.  The genocide in Sudan can be stopped.  Every American can do his or her part.  The United States Congress and the president have called it genocide.  It is now up to the states to apply economic pressure on the government of Sudan and divest from companies doing business in Sudan. We have seen in the past that the government in Khartoum responds to economic pressure.
Last month I called on my home state of Virginia to divest and a state senator will be putting forth legislation when the General Assembly returns in January. 
I hope every state will follow the lead of California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon which have already moved to divest from companies doing business with Sudan.  Today we call on the remaining 44 states to do the same.
We encourage all governors to review their state's pension funds and identify companies which are doing the type of business in Sudan that is aiding the government and fulfilling this genocide, not helping the people.  We ask that they work with their state legislators to enact legislation to divest from those companies. 
California just passed a law last month and its model of targeted divestment limits the scope of companies and investments, providing a good plan for action. 
We need to send a signal to the government in Khartoum that America and the West will not stand silent in the face of genocide that the women and children in those camps matter as much to us as our own families.
History will judge our willingness to act.