The United Nations has warned that millions of people in Yemen are at risk of famine, perhaps the worst world famine in a century, as the result of ongoing civil war and Saudi-led military actions in Yemen. Activists stood outside the Buffalo building Monday where Sen. Charles Schumer keeps a regional office. Their message to the senator: put his name on a proposed resolution calling for the end of U.S. support of those Saudi actions.
Civil war broke out in Yemen in 2015. Since then, Saudi Arabia has intervened in an attempt to restore the government ousted at the onset of that civil war. Its tactics have included blockades and air strikes. The United States has provided logistical support and intelligence to a Saudi-led coalition carrying out those air strikes.
In Buffalo, activists stood in the light rain on the sidewalk in front of the building where Schumer's Buffalo office is located. He was not in Buffalo Monday, but those on the street say he needs to take a leadership role and add his name as a co-sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 54, which would end UN military participation in Yemen with the exception of actions against Al Qaeda.
"At this time, when the whole world is looking at what's happening in Yemen, how can you be silent?" said Jim Anderson, president of Peace Action New York State.
Participants in the quiet sidewalk demonstration point out Western New York's large Yemeni-American population in Lackawanna and because of that, the crisis does hit close to home.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has already added her name to the resolution, which was first introduced in late February but has been tabled since March.
Victoria Ross, executive director of the Western New York Peace Center, urged Schumer to join the list of names co-sponsoring the bill. As she sees it, the White House has already shown its support for the Saudi regime and will do nothing to aid those at risk of starvation in Yemen.
"There's been every indication that they don't care about the people dying in Yemen," she said. "Let's say that's the position at the top. Those lives are for sale."