Dordt College News

Justice Week at Dordt College

March 31, 2014

As many as 35,000 people are enslaved in North Sudan. During the Sudanese Civil War that lasted from 1983 to 2005, North Sudanese militias fought for the Islamist government, enslaving thousands of South Sudanese Christians. Even with the war over, these people continue to be enslaved. In the north, people are subjected to forced labor, forced marriages, child and parent separation, beatings, sexual violence, and forced conversion to Islam.

These injustices are the focus of this year’s Justice Week at Dordt College. “We chose this topic because we’ve seen interest from the campus about slavery and persecution worldwide,” said Justice Matters Club student chair Ben DeVries (Mitchell, South Dakota). “Justice deals with how people are treated, and slavery and persecution are two things that we should not allow to continue.”

The Justice Matters Club will host several events including two presentations from Dordt alumnus Joel Veldkamp of Christian Solidarity International (CSI).

Veldkamp will speak about “Sudan: Freeing the Enslaved” on Tuesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. in the Ribbens Academic Complex classroom CL 1144/1148 (main lecture hall). Then on Wednesday, April 9, Veldkamp will present “Religious Cleansing in the Middle East” at 7 p.m. in the same room.

CSI is a Christian human rights organization working for religious liberty and human dignity. They have been assisting victims of religious persecution since 1977. CSI is the only organization working to liberate Christians and other South Sudanese people forced into slavery by government-backed forces.

Veldkamp is a 2010 graduate from Dordt College where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and communication. He has served as an assistant to the CEO of CSI for over two years. His recent trip to South Sudan and his work with CSI have made him keenly aware of the persecution that Christians face worldwide and particularly in the Middle East.

Additional activities include a letter writing event at 10 a.m. on April 10, in the De Yager Student Activities Center near the Defender Grille and a 5K Walk to Free Slaves on April 12, that begins at 10 a.m. in the Kuyper Apartments.

More information about the week can be found at You can also follow Veldkamp’s blog at

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