Humankind would not have endured and cannot continue without the capacity to form rewarding, nurturing, and enduring relationships. We survive because we can love. And we can love because we can empathize — that is, stand in another’s shoes and care about what it feels like to be there.
– Bruce Perry & Maia Szalavitz
June 25, 2009 is a date of great historical significance. It is the day Michael Jackson died. Seeking to process the shock and heartbreak brought on by the suddenness of his passing, people spoke of little else that day, especially in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, also on that day, Martina Knee, of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, flew in to LAX, as I drove up from Orange County (and got distinctly, profoundly lost), in order to meet with Peter Marcus, of Jewish World Watch, in his Los Angeles law office. As Carl Wilkens Fellows (an anti-genocide leadership program) our meeting was to discuss a possible statewide initiative: to get the state of California to pass legislation for April to receive the official designation, Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month.
I can’t take credit for what happened after that meeting as the hard work was done by others. Nevertheless, I felt a personal sense of delight when at the very end of April 2010, the California State Legislature passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution 144 proclaiming April of each year Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month. April 2011 was the first official Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month in the State of California.
Since that time, knowing of the six commemorative dates in April, I have wanted to do something that would focus not just on one genocide, but commemorate them all, individually, and as a whole — remembering the victims and survivors in their uniqueness, yet, in an inter-related, inter-connected way. And the inter-connectedness goes beyond those with firsthand experiences. There are children of survivors and grandchildren that carry these stories and trans-generational trauma.
How do vast numbers of people fully recover from such atrocities and horrors? How many who walk this earth carry these wounds? How can we best support them in completing the process of grief? And what if it isn’t just “them” that need healing? What if we are all carrying the weight of this unresolved suffering, consciously or not, by virtue of living on this planet where such extreme cruelty and inhumanity has occurred and continues, time after time, generation after generation? What does the path look like for us to collectively pursue the healing we all need?
I can’t adequately express how pleased I am to be able to invite you to join us for April 2014 Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month: Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future — a six event commemorative film series featuring stories of survivors and their children. More info can be found below and on our web site.
Barbara English, LMFT
Founder & Executive Director, Living Ubuntu
[Ubuntu] n. Every human being truly becomes a human by means of relationships with other human beings.
::: UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS :::
Great American Write-In – Women For: Orange County
Saturday, April 5 9:30a-1p
OC Walk to End Genocide – Jewish World Watch
Sunday, April 6 1p-4p
Fountain Valley Sports Park – Great Lawn
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APRIL 2014 GENOCIDE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH
Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future
A free six event commemorative film series featuring the stories of survivors and their children
Tuesday, April 1:
My Neighbor, My Killer (Rwanda) Soka University 5p-6p Reception, 6p-8p Program
Wednesday, April 2:
The Armenian Genocide (Armenian) Concordia University 7p-9p
Thursday, April 3:
Enemies of the People (Cambodia) Golden West College 6:30p-9p
Thursday, April 17:
A collection of short films (Sudan) UC Irvine 5p-6:50p
Wednesday, April 23:
I Came to Testify (Bosnia) CSU Long Beach 7p-9p
Tuesday, April 29:
Numbered (The Holocaust) Chapman University 7p-8:30p
Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.
– Judith Herman
This series is presented by Living Ubuntu, Amnesty International – Irvine, the above academic institutions and our community partners:
American Red Cross of Orange County
Carl Wilkens Fellowship
Center for Living Peace
Jewish World Watch
Spiritual and Religious Alliance for Hope (SARAH)
The Cambodian Family
United Nations Association, Orange County Chapter
Women For: Orange County
For more info, event updates, film trailers, speakers, and RSVP, visit: http://livingubuntu.org/events.
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