April 17 at UCI: Sudan (Remembering the Past toward Healing Our Future)

My first thought when I learned about the genocide was that if I could help just one child not experience what I went through as a second generation survivor, then it would be worth it. – Martina Knee

Second Generation Survivor, First Generation Activist – An Interview with Martina Knee

We learned how to jump into bunkers by about age five.  We were taught to distinguish the sound of a normal airplane coming to land and the sound of the bombers.- Wai John Wai
Giving Back to Sudan, from San Diego – An Interview with Wai John Wai

Hi everyone,

The first week of Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future included three very powerful events. You can find photos on the Living Ubuntu Facebook page.

This week: the fourth in the film series. On April 17 at UCI, the International Studies Public Forum will focus on Sudan, the only event in the series about an ongoing genocide.

One of our speakers, Joseph Jok, was born in South Sudan, now working for International Rescue Committee in San Diego. I have had the pleasure of knowing Joseph for many years. He has been part of the collaborative effort with us to help launch Trauma Recovery for East African Refugees in San Diego. As many of you know, extreme violence began in South Sudan on December 15, 2013. We will screen recent film clips and get to hear first hand from Joseph about his own experiences. Continue reading

Distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder.

For much of our history as a species – and perhaps particularly in modern society – we have often seen ourselves as isolated beings, solo actors on a small stage with a few select fellow thespians.
Today we can actually track scientifically the neural dimensions of our narrow definition of self. When our resonance circuits are engaged, we can feel another’s feelings and create a cortical imprint that lets us understand what may be going on in the other’s mind – because it is like ours – and our mind and our brain turn on our mindsight mechanism. We uncap our inner lens and take a deep look into the face of the other to see the mind that rests beneath the visage. But if we cannot identify with someone else, those resonance circuits shut off. We see others as objects, as “them” rather than “us.” We literally do not activate the very circuits we need in order to see another person as having an internal mental life.
 – Daniel Siegel

Hi everyone,

Contrary to the popular notion, distance does not always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes distance just makes it harder to relate. And the implications of that extend far beyond its relevance in romance. Distance has many meanings and contexts. It can be geographical, as in, physically ‘far away’, historical, as in, things that happened ‘long ago’, or circumstantial, as in, life experiences where ‘nothing like that has ever happened to me’.

Empathy is about being able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and caringly feel what it is like to be there. These factors of ‘distance’ make empathy more difficult. Unless we really ‘get it’, and can ‘relate’, it is hard to care very much, or feel compassionate. Continue reading

We survive because we can love.

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

Hi everyone,

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. Continue reading

Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future: April 17 (Sudan)

April 2014 Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month

Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
 – Martin Luther King Jr.

Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future

A free six-event commemorative film series featuring stories of survivors and their children

UCI International Studies Public Forum

A collection of short films

Thursday, April 17, 2014
5p – 6:50p
, Program (Reception after in SSPB 1208 CHANGED TO: SBSG 1517)
University of California, Irvine

SSPA 1100, 151 Social Sciences Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697
campus map
(See below for closest PARKING and fee details.)
Joseph Jok, Julia Julima, Martina Knee, Katie-Jay Scott
Space is limited.

Camp Darfur, a traveling, awareness-raising six-tent refugee camp exhibit, (one for each genocide being commemorated in April), will be on campus 11a – 3:30p in the center of campus, near “the flag pole area” in front of Langson Library on April 17.

A collection of short films:

Since its independence in 1956, Sudan has been at war with itself. Its current government has perpetrated serial genocides against its own citizens. Most recently, it has targeted the people of Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei. South Sudan, the nation created by secession in 2011 after decades of war and the loss of 2.5 million lives, is now on the brink of civil war along political and ethnic lines. In these ongoing genocides facts change rapidly. New films are released frequently, and we will screen shorter pieces depicting the conflicts in these areas, revealing their similarities and differences and their effects on innocent civilians. We will announce the titles closer to the date of the event.


Joseph Jok is a Resettlement Supervisor in the San Diego office of International Rescue Committee, a leading humanitarian organization with over twenty offices in the United States, doing relief work in over 40 countries around the world. Mr. Jok, born in Kongor, South Sudan, came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1998. Immediately upon arrival, he became involved in local Sudanese community activities and took a leading role in organizing a nascent Sudanese community in San Diego. As community public relation liaison, Jok published articles and was interviewed by major newspapers in southern California (LA times and San Diego Union Tribune). He also oversaw and organized the 2011 South Sudan referendum activities which include voter’s education, registration and drive to polling station in Phoenix.

Mr. Jok began his career as a large animal Veterinary practitioner in a small town in Libya, after graduating from School of Veterinary Medicine in Alexandria, Egypt. Three years later after his first career job in Libya, he became a refugee in Egypt. While in Egypt, he became involved in local community organization activities. Jok attended and organized several community development workshops in collaboration with regional organizations such as Near East Foundation, SUDIA (Sudan Development Initiative Abroad).

Since 2009, Mr. Jok has visited South Sudan several times and attended South Sudan Independence’s celebration in July 9th, 2011. He holds a Bachelors of Veterinary Medical Science from University of Alexandria, Egypt, and Masters Degree in International Relations from Alliant International University, San Diego.

Julia Julima was born in Omdurman, Sudan. At the age of four, she and members of her family moved to Cairo, Egypt as in-city refugees. Ms. Julima has lived in the United States since she was seven; she and her family were resettled in San Diego, California. Members of her extended family reside in the Nuba Mountains (South Kordofan) region of Sudan. She is a recent graduate of La Jolla Country Day School and since graduating, has taken a gap year to pursue her community activism and writing. Several of Ms. Julima’s literary works can be found in publications like The International Rescue Committee, The Global Journal Project and most recently, Border Voices. When she returns to school she plans to study chemical engineering and biochemistry.

Martina Knee is the Treasurer, Secretary and a Director of Living Ubuntu. She is also the Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition. She is a 2009 Carl Wilkens Fellow and serves on the Advisory Boards of the Carl Wilkens Fellowship and of the UC Berkeley School of Law Human Rights Center. Ms. Knee has participated in and organized numerous lobby efforts for Darfur, Sudan and anti-genocide strategies on Capitol Hill, at the U.S. State Department, the California legislature and the City and County of San Francisco. She is a co-chair of the International Human Rights portfolio of the Taskforce on Israel, World Jewry and International Human Rights of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Ms. Knee is a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco and a recipient of the JCRC’s 2008 Honorable Tom Lantos Memorial Humanitarian Award.  She previously practiced corporate and securities law for over twenty years.  She earned her J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law and her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley. Read an interview with Martina Knee here.

Katie-Jay Scott is the Director of Operations and Community Involvement of i-ACT, an organization of communities of people creating a new culture of participation offering new ways to connect with and support those who are affected by mass atrocities. Ms. Scott coordinates partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implements the i-ACT campaigns. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States. Ms. Scott co-founded the Portland Coalition for Genocide Awareness with other grassroots activists in November 2005 and has been a part of the i-ACT team since July 2007. She has visited the Chad-Darfur border region five times and coordinated several campaigns and i-ACT partnerships. She works to bring the voices of refugees to the world conscience.

The parking lots on campus that are closest to both the Camp Darfur exhibit in center of campus, and the screening event program venue are:

  • Social Science Parking Structure
  • Student Center Parking Structure
    Both are $4/hour or $10/day to park in. See campus map.

Living Ubuntu, in collaboration with Amnesty International – Irvine, community partners and six local academic institutions, presents a six-event commemorative film series featuring the stories of survivors and their children. April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, and each film commemorates a genocide that started during April. Living Ubuntu provides education about global traumas as part of its mission to heal trauma in order to promote peace. All events are free and open to the public. The forth one is about the Sudan genocide. All details are above.

For info on all six events, a complete list of community partners, and to RSVP, click here.
Questions? Contact us at: info@livingubuntu.org, or 949.891.2005

Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future, A six event commemorative film series

April 2014 Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month

It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of the pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering.
– Judith Herman

Remembering the Past toward Healing our Future

A free six-event commemorative film series featuring stories of survivors and the children

Living Ubuntu, in collaboration with Amnesty International-Irvine, additional community partners and the below academic institutions, presents a six-event commemorative film series featuring the stories of survivors and their children. April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, and each film commemorates a genocide that started during April. Living Ubuntu provides education about global traumas as part of its mission to heal trauma in order to promote peace.

All events are free and open to the public.

For complete details on each event, see links below. Continue reading