Genocide & Human Rights Awareness Month in St. Pete

Genocide and Human Rights Awareness Month (GHRAM) is an annual initiative of the Florida Holocaust Museum with a mission to build public awareness about the Holocaust, The Armenian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide and the genocide in Darfur as well as other human rights violations. Exhibitions, commemorative events and programs focused on public awareness will take place during GHRAM.

On April 12 The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the internationally recognized worker-based human rights organization, will host From Slavery to Freedom Part I – Our Food/Our Table: From The Ground Up. Two of the Coalition members speaking were enslaved only 145 miles from St. Pete.  They are among the 1,200 freed from slavery by the Coalition in the southeastern U.S. as recently as ’08. The Coalition’s Anti-Slavery campaign has uncovered and aided in the prosecution of numerous farm slavery operations across the Southeastern U.S., liberating 1,200 workers held against their will. the Coalition will be Speaking at The Florida Holocaust Museum at 7pm.

Special guest speaker Clemantine Wamariya will be at the Florida Holocaust Museum as part of the Pardoll Family Lecture Series. Wamariya was only 6 when genocide erupted in her native Rwanda and she lost many members of her extended family. She and her 16-year-old sister Claire were separated from their parents but managed to survive, living in countless refugee camps in 7 different countries before arriving in Chicago. While in high school Wamariya penned an essay using her personal experiences to detail how Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust memoir, Night, remains painfully relevant today. She will be speaking at the Holocaust Museum on April 30 at 6:30pm.

On top of the rare lectures that will take place during GHRAM, The Florida Holocaust Museum along with the USF St. Petersburg Poynter Memorial Library will debut two new exhibits.  The Greatest Crime of the War: The Armenian Genocide During WWI depicts one of the worst tragedies in human history.  The Armenian Genocide destroyed a civilization that resided in Anatolia for thousands of years.  The exhibit is now open at the Florida Holocaust Museum.  To Save A Single Life…Rescuers of Jews During The Holocaust is an exhibit showcasing some of the rare instances where people fought to safeguard Jewish citizens during the Holocaust. The bravery of these citizens offers a glimmer of hope into human nature.  The exhibit is now open at the Poynter Memorial Library and will arrive at the Florida Holocaust Museum on April 26.  

Genocide and Human Rights Awareness Month is in memory of Dr. Stephen Feinstein who was a guest curator at the Florida Holocaust Museum for a decade and founding director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. To help support these and other human rights awareness programs, donate here. For a full list of lectures and exhibits with more detailed descriptions visit here.

*Photos courtesy of The Florida Holocaust Museum

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Written by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey is the founder of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. In addition to regular contributions to each blog, he's been featured as a commentator to Bay New 9, The Tampa Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times, The Tampa Bay Business Journal and The Business Observer as well as national outlets including The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal.