Madison Comes Together To Support Genocide Awareness and Reconciliation
(Photo by Donna Lindemeyer)
Pictured above are representatives from organizations co-sponsoring the Borough of Madison proclamation declaring April 16 Genocide Awareness and Reconciliation Day in Madison. Standing in front of the Hartley Dodge building from left to right are: Greg Robertson, Principal of Madison High School; Marty Horn, President of Madison Rotary; Reverend Ron Sordillo of St. Vincent Martyr Church; William Primus President of the Urban League of Morris County; Marie Claudine Mukamabano, representing Kuki Ndiho Rwanda Orphans Support Project; George Martin, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Urban League of Morris County; Mary Anna Holden, Mayor of Madison; Dr. Paul LaChance, of the College of Saint Elizabeth; Mike Kopas, of Drew University; and Dr. Herm Huber, of the College of Saint Elizabeth.
On April 7, the United Nations will commemorate the 15th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days. Most of the dead were the minority Tutsis, and most of those who perpetrated the violence were the majority Hutus. The United Nations has designated the year 2009 as The International Year of Reconciliation with the understanding that reconciliation is necessary for the establishment of firm and lasting peace.
To honor those whose lives were lost in the Rwandan genocide, and to build awareness and help foster reconciliation, the community of Madison has come together by means of educational and cultural programs. As part of the awareness effort, the Borough of Madison has declared April 16, Genocide Awareness and Reconciliation Day. “With many of our community organizations such as the College of Saint Elizabeth, Madison Rotary, Drew University, The Urban League of Morris County, St. Vincent Martyr Church, and Madison High School engaged in the discussion of this very important issue, a proclamation declaring the support of all Madison seemed appropriate,” said Madison Mayor, Mary Anna Holden. On April 16, there will be symposia and memorials at both the College of Saint Elizabeth and Drew University.
Both the College of Saint Elizabeth and Drew University have programs dedicated to genocide and holocaust studies. According to Professor Herm Huber of the College of Saint Elizabeth, “Our program focuses on providing students with an historical perspective of genocide, while emphasizing the processes of reconciliation and forgiveness.”
Marie Claudine Mukamabano, pictured above, a Rwandan genocide survivor, performance artist and founder of the Kuki Ndiho Rwanda performance troupe, will be participating in the April 7 United Nations Rwandan commemoration. Ms. Mukamabano will be performing native Rwandan dances and will have one of her poems read as part of the UN program. The Kuki Ndiho performance troupe also includes two other members (also genocide survivors) who play traditional Rwandan instruments and sing while wearing native attire. “We thank the Madison community for all of their support and look forward to performing at the College of Saint Elizabeth, Madison High School and at the Madison Community House,” said Ms. Mukamabano. The performance at the College of Saint Elizabeth on April 16 begins at 10 a.m. and at the Madison Community House at 7:30 p.m. – both will be open to the public.