OLD TOWN, Maine, Nov. 5, 2014 – “Genocide and ME: Shining the Light of Truth” will bring three unique perspectives of time and place to Hannaford Hall at the University of Southern Maine (USM) – Portland campus, Thu., Nov. 20, at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome to this free event.
Accompanied by music, poetry and a Q&A, “Genocide and ME” will focus on three personally rooted talks that span from Burma (Myanmar) to Rwanda to the Wabanaki Nations by:
- Tom Andrews, United to End Genocide
- Monique Mutumwinka, Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP)
- Maria Girouard, Maine-Wabanaki REACH
“Genocide abroad meets genocide that has had its effect right here – both as a force that has sent someone far from home and as something that has altered the very notion of what home is,” said Charlotte Bacon, executive director of the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
Art will play a major part as “Americans Who Tell the Truth” historian Robert Shetterly will display his portraits of REACH’s Esther Attean and Denise Altvater, two Wabanaki women who worked to establish the TRC.
Burns said of the unique event, “We invite people to join us as we shine a light on acts of genocide and compassion, on human grief and hope.”
Before the presentations, Falmouth High School art students will display works they created in response to stories gathered while meeting with Andrews, Rwandan genocide survivors and TRC members.
Meanwhile, light refreshments and a chance to meet the guests will open the night in the foyer of the Abromson Center’s Hannaford Hall. No registration is necessary for this event.
Andrews, president of United to End Genocide, will share his perspective of confronting genocide as a former congressman from Maine, and talk about what Maine people can do about it.
Having traveled extensively in Burma, Andrews said in a statement before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs in July, “There is no place on earth where there are more known precursors to genocide than in Burma today.”
Monique Mutumwinka, representing ILAP, will give her account of genocide in Rwanda – the home she fled to make a new life in Maine.
“I hope that my presentation will lead people to respect each other more and to be aware of human rights problems around the world,” Mutumwinka said.
Maria Girouard, a Penobscot Nation historian and REACH community organizer, will describe genocidal practices conducted against the Wabanaki tribes, along with the intergenerational trauma that has affected centuries of survivors.
Girouard said, “We are all participants in a centuries-old clash of cultures, and we are writing our Grandchildren’s history. What do we want that to look like?”
The event has been made possible by a broad range of sponsors, including the Andrus Family Fund; Sam L. Cohen Foundation; Episcopal Diocese of Maine; Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine; Justice for Women Lecture Series; W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Emanuel & Pauline A. Lerner Foundation; Maine Community Foundation and the associated Broad Reach Fund and People of Color Fund; Maine Council of Churches; Maine Humanities Council; NAACP; Religious Coalition Against Discrimination (RCAD); Salt Institute for Documentary Studies; Doree Taylor Charitable Foundation; USM Muskie School of Public Service; USM Multicultural Student Affairs; and an anonymous donor.
Bacon said, “Our intent is to bring genocide home to Maine in ways that make people aware that they, too, have the power to help shape how our state moves ahead as it confronts this awareness of both current and historical harms.”
Maine-Wabanaki REACH is a cross-cultural collaborative that promotes best child welfare practice through reconciliation, engagement, advocacy, change and healing activities for and between Wabanaki and Maine citizens, communities and governments.
The Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) addresses truths of Wabanaki experiences with child welfare to promote healing and change. It’s the nation’s first TRC to address child welfare and Native people.