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Tents of Hope for Darfur event to take place in Middlebury Sept. 13, 20 and 27

September 2, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Tents of Hope, a national art project aimed at promoting awareness and action to end genocide in Darfur, Sudan, will take place in Addison County for three consecutive Saturdays, beginning Sept. 13, from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., at the Middlebury Farmers Market; Sept. 20, from 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., on the Middlebury Town Green; and Sept. 27, from 1 - 4 p.m., on the main quad of the Middlebury College campus.

The nationwide project encourages communities across the country to build and decorate representative refugee tents as symbols of the victims' loss. The tents are both unique works of art and ongoing focal points for learning about and assisting the people of Sudan. Please note that the painting of the tents will take place in the earlier hours of the event, and children of all ages are welcome to attend and participate.

According to Jerry Fowler, Director of the Committee on Conscience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, "The refugee tent is a symbol of loss [reminding them] of what they used to have, what was taken from them, and their longing to return home. Yet, even though the tent represents loss, they immediately humanize their situation by creating a new life. In the camps in Chad, this is most obvious from the fences and screens they build around their tents with sticks and grass and the little plots they scratch out next to their tents to grow vegetables . Our ability to create and sustain hope in the presence of loss - even enormous loss - is one of humanity's most exalted characteristics."

As a further means of exemplifying the extent of the need in Sudan, thousands of communities plan to fold, pack and transport their decorated tents to Washington, D.C., to serve as centerpieces for a massive rally on the National Mall in early November.

The Addison County events are sponsored by the Middlebury College Chaplain's Office and the Middlebury Area Clergy Association. For more information on how to participate, contact Middlebury College Scott Center for Spiritual & Religious Life Coordinator Ellen McKay at or 802-443-5626.