(Posted April 8, 2018)

Art by Maeve Gannon

Art by Maeve Gannon

Huntingdon, Pa. – Juniata College will host its annual Genocide Awareness and Action Week from Sunday, April 8 to Sunday, April 14. Genocide Awareness and Action Week is a student-run series of events to commemorate past genocides, including the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. All the listed events are free and open to the public.

This year’s theme is Building our Beloved Community. Savannah Parson, a senior who co-organized the week in her internship position for Professor Alison Fletcher, says, “We are moving away from only talking about these historical and current genocides and mass atrocities, and starting to think about how we can come together as a community coming from different places and experiences, so we can prevent these things from happening in our own community.” 

“We don’t always think about the fact that we live in a county that has had a mass amount of trauma that we see in our communities today. Nobody thinks that it’s going to happen here, but there is a lot to be learned by looking at history and looking at our own community to prevent violence in this space,” says senior Maeve Gannon, who also co-organized the week’s events in her internship position, which works with the entire Genocide Awareness and Action Week Committee.

Genocide Awareness and Action Week will kick off on Sunday, April 8 at 7 p.m. with a screening and discussion of “Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock” in Neff Lecture Hall, von Liebig Center for Science. The post-film dialogue will be facilitated by Polly Walker, director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and Elizabeth Baker Evans Professor of Peace and Conflict Resolution.

On Monday, April 9 a Student zine will be released from noon to 2 p.m. on the campus quad (Ellis Hall lobby if poor weather conditions.) Participants will get a copy of a student-created, independent pocket guide for building and maintaining a “beloved community.” The guide is comprised of artwork, stories, poetry, short essays, and advice.

Also on April 9, Skanda Kadirgamar, a member of the National Committee of the War Resistors League, will be giving a guest lecture in at 7 p.m. in Neff Lecture Hall, which is funded by the Sedgley Thornbury Lecture fund.

On Tuesday, April 10 at 4:30 p.m. is an open microphone session at Standing Stone Coffee Company.  And, at 7 p.m. in Neff Lecture Hall, Arthur Kleinman, a medical anthropologist and psychiatrist who researches and teaches at Harvard University, will be giving a speech titled “Care in Global Health: The Secret of Success in Implementing Humanitarian Assistance, Global Health and Social Development Programs.” Kleinman’s lecture is funded by the Delbert McQuaide Distinguished Lectureship.

On Wednesday, April 11 from 3 to 4 p.m., the L. A. Beeghly Library will host a One Item, One Hour Presentation. Together with Cynthia Merriwether-DeVries, associate professor of sociology, and Daniel Welliver, associate professor of sociology, Parson and Gannon will explore the archived library materials from the 1800s and the connection they have with our current justice system. Later that night, at 7 p.m., before their Thursday-evening performance, there will be a documentary viewing and discussion of The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change. The documentary “connects artists, community members, scholars, social service and cultural works, and activists of different generations. Together, they consider how best to foster change through the respectful and innovative combining of folk and traditional arts with social justice activism.”

On Thursday, April 12 in Sill Boardroom, von Liebig Center for Science at 5 p.m., Hillel will hold a Freedom Seder service and will host a distinguished speaker. Following this event at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall will be a live performance from the Liberians Women’s Chorus for Change.

At the Stone Church of the Brethren, there will be a community dinner on Friday, April 13 at 6 p.m. called, “A Space for Reflection and Student Presentation.” The Genocide Awareness and Action committee will provide a home-cooked meal while junior Liliane Umuhoza presents her efforts to support women survivors of genocide from her home country, Rwanda.

To wrap up the week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, there will be a culminating workshop with Matt Meyer, a national co-chair of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, former chair of the War Resisters League, and United Nations representative of the International Peace Research Association. There are limited spaces, so sign up as soon as possible by emailing Savannah Parson at parsosd14@juniata.edu. Lunch will be provided.

To view the most up-to-date schedule for Genocide Awareness & Action Week, please visit http://www.juniata.edu/academics/departments/history/genocide-awareness-and-action-week.php.


--Written by Taylor Smallwood ’19-- 

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.