Each year, on the anniversary of the Gatumba Massacre, survivors from across the country gather together in a convenient location for a memorial ceremony. This event helps the survivors and their families to rekindle old bonds and forge new connections, pay respects to those who were murdered, and continue healing emotional wounds. The survivors, who generally are deeply religious, will also have the chance to hold services and remembrances of those lost in a peaceful and safe location. The location of the memorial changes each year, to allow as many survivors to attend as possible and to connect the survivors with new communities.
On a greater scale, the survivors will use this event as a platform to pressure the international community to bring pressure to the international community to bring the perpetrators of this massacre to justice, to protect the remaining Banyamulenge from the continuing threat of genocide, to reunite families torn apart by violence and displacement, and to call for a cessation of violence against all civilian populations throughout the Congo and the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
In 2011, the Gatumba Survivors Memorial Event is being held in Syracuse, New York, at Henninger High School Auditorium, August 13-14. The theme of this year’s memorial event is “Justice, Healing and Reconciliation”. Events open to the public will be held from 10am to 6:30pm on Saturday, August 13, and will include presentations by many engaging speakers, including:
Syracuse is one of the cities hosting a large number of Gatumba Massacre survivors and many other refugees from the Great Lakes Region of Africa. The event will be marked by healing sessions and workshops of those lost in a peaceful and safe location. Prayers for those still suffering in silence in the Eastern DRC along with sermons for peace and stability in the region will also be at the center of the event. Survivors will also share stories about their survival. Last but not least there will also be traditional memorial performances and panel presentations by well-informed and educated guest speakers about the current situation in the Great Lakes Region of Africa.
Results from previous gatherings are good indicators of how the event helps the survivors to become more productive at work along with adjusting to their new life in the US. The event is open to the public. All are invited without distinction.
The 2011 memorial gathering is being spearheaded by a number of different non-profit groups, including the Gatumba Refugee Survivors Foundation, Blessed Global Ministries, USA, Syracuse City School District, and the Mahoro Association.