As Kenya Falls Apart, the Diaspora Responds

A conciliatory political leader in Kenya was shot to death in his driveway last night. The indispensable Jeffrey Gettleman reports from the scene

Mr. Were was an opposition politician who had resisted his party’s often belligerent talk. He had married a woman of another ethnic group, built bridges in the slums with his own money and sponsored teenage mothers to go to college. As Kenya slid into chaos this past month after a disputed election, he shuttled between leaders of different ethnic groups and was actually organizing a peace march the night before he died.

“Whoever did this,” said Elizabeth Mwangi, a friend, “has killed the dreams of many.”

As violence persists in Kenya, the diaspora here in the United States is taking action. Last week, we told you about Ushahidi, the interactive website that uses a google maps mash-up to let users report acts of violence in Kenya. Vuma Kenya, the group behind Ushahidi, is also raising money to help fill the $15 million gap faced by relief agencies such as the Kenya Red Cross Society as they respond to the emerging humanitarian crises.

You can help by donating to the Kenyan Red Cross Society. Readers in the Boston area should also head to The Roxy on Tremont Street, where Vuma Kenya is hosting a benefit concert.