Actress addresses genocide and women's rights

WHO: Film and television actress Maria Bello is a two-time Golden Globe nominee for “A History of Violence” (2005) and “The Cooler” (2003). The “ER” alum’s other credits include “The Jane Austen Book Club” (2007), “Thank You for Smoking” (2005) and, most recently, “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee” (2009), helmed by Rebecca Miller.

WHAT: The Save Darfur Coalition, created in 2004, aims to raise public awareness and mobilize a response to the genocide in Sudan’s western region. SDC’s main objectives include sustainable peace for all of Sudan; protection of civilians from violence, starvation and disease; justice for victims; and accountability for perpetrators.

WHY: “In 2003, when the genocide started happening, I thought it was my duty and my right and my privilege as a human being, as a woman living in a democracy, and as a public figure to speak out and use my voice to talk about the injustice,” Bello says. She adds that while the Obama administration “has done so much to further the cause of the Darfuri people,” there is still work to be done. “And women are the key,” Bello adds.

WHAT’S NEXT: “We’re really supporting the North-South comprehensive peace agreement, making sure that 25% of the conversation involves women and civil society,” says Bello, “and that camps are safe for women.” She adds, “I found out through being a part of Save Darfur that it is the women and mothers who are transforming and changing the face of the peace process in Darfur and in other countries. We’re working on creating a council of women from D.C. and the media and business — real women leaders who can work to promote issues of social justice and be involved from the ground level up.”

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