When the bell rang, the members of Huntington Beach High’s Operation Save Darfur Club got up and went back to their school days. The “die-in,” as Adam called it, was the first such demonstration the group had done. This one had netted minimal attention, but Adam, a junior and the club’s president, had started making plans to publicize the next event before he rose from the grass.
“It’s a little warm today,” the 17-year-old said. “But knowing that it’s for a good cause, I was happy to do it. I want to do it again.”
The HB Reads program, which takes place every winter in Huntington Beach, spotlights a book about human relations in a blighted part of the world. This year, the organizing committee chose “They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky,” a memoir by three young Sudanese men who fled their country’s violence in the 1990s and emigrated to America at the turn of the century.
HB Reads isn’t the first local program in recent years to campaign for awareness about Sudan. When the volunteer committee started by resident Fred Provencher began lining up events for this winter, it had two groups in town ready to help.
Huntington Beach High, where a Darfur club was launched three years ago, will host the climactic event of this year’s program, in which two of the authors of “They Poured Fire On Us” will meet with students Thursday night in the campus gym.
And Orange County for Darfur, an offshoot of the nonprofit Living Ubuntu, distributed information at three documentary film screenings at the Huntington Beach Central Library in February.
Provencher had never heard of Orange County for Darfur or the high school club before the planning started for this year, but he called them a pleasant surprise.