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10 Ways to Learn and Take Action in Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month

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Each entry in this NEW series of monthly posts provides 10 helpful resources and references for educators about a particular theme. Tell us your ideas for more “10 Things” posts like this one at #10YearsofEchoes, Facebook, Twitter, or Email.

Because April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, the coming weeks offer an important opportunity to teach students about genocide and genocide prevention, and to inspire them to take action toward building a better future. The following resources can help you get started:

1. April 5, 2015 marks the anniversary of the Siege of Sarajevo

In 1992, the multi-ethnic republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina – then Yugoslavia – became a site of deadly warfare and ethnic cleansing in which the lives of an estimated 100,000 people were claimed. Learn more about the Bosnian Genocide with the background information available at World Without Genocide.

2. April 7, 2015 marks the anniversary of the start of the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

Survivor of the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda from IWitness

April 7, 1994 marked the beginning of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. In the span of the 100 days which followed, Rwanda’s local Hutu majority killed as many as 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus—20% of the country’s total population and 70% of the Tutsi then living in Rwanda. Learn more about the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda from this BBC overview and from the USC Shoah Foundation. Visit IWitness to hear Rwandan survivor testimonies and to access excellent educator resources and activities.

3. April 16, 2015 is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom Hashoah is a solemn day of commemoration that honors the victims of the Holocaust. 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation from Auschwitz and the end of World War II, during which the Nazi regime and its collaborators claimed the lives of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews across Europe. Echoes and Reflections provides excellent resources for studying the Holocaust, and Yad Vashem and the US Holocuast Memorial Museum both offer additional information to help you commemorate Yom Hashoah with your students.

4. April 17, 2015 marks the anniversary of the start of the Cambodian Genocide

Between 1975 and 1979, the Cambodian Genocide was perpetrated by the Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime. Nearly two million people were killed. World Without Genocide has excellent background information on the Khmer Rouge regime and the Cambodian Genocide. Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Project offers educator resources, photographs, and maps to support a thorough study of this event with students.

5. April 24th, 2015 marks 100 years since the Armenian Genocide

Survivor from the Armenian Genocide from USC Shoah Foundation 30 Days of Testimony to remember the Armenian GenocideDuring World War I, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were deported and massacred in the Ottoman Empire. Visit the USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research and watch 30 days of testimony from victims of the Armenian Genocide to commemorate the 100th anniversary with your students.

6. 2015 marks 10 Years since the UN Security Council referred the Darfur Genocide to the International Criminal Court

The Darfur Genocide refers to the mass slaughter and rape of men, women, and children in Western Sudan, which began in 2003. On March 31, 2005, the UN Security Council referred the case to the International Criminal Court making 2015 the 10th anniversary of the Darfur War Crimes Referral. The atrocities – the first recognized genocide of the 21st century – are still continuing today. Visit World Without Genocide for more information. Save Darfur and Jewish World Watch provide helpful, actionable steps that you can take with your students to support the end of this conflict.

7. Learn about events occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Since 1996, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been embroiled in conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 5.4 million people. Visit World Without Genocide for background information and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience website for helpful resources on what you can do.

8. Learn about the Nanjing Massacre

Survivor of the Nanjing Massacre from USC Shoah Foundation IWitnessThe Nanjing Massacre was perpetrated by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing, China over six weeks starting December 13, 1937. As many as 300,000 Chinese civilians were slaughtered. Visit IWitness for survivor testimonies and more information.

9. Learn more about international campaigns to end genocide!

Join current campaigns and learn more with your students about the fight to end genocide across the globe. Save Darfur, US Campaign for Burma, Jewish World Watch, and other national organizations are actively involved in the fight every day and you can be too. Use Echoes and Reflections Lesson 9: Perpetrators, Collaborators, and Bystanders along with IWitness testimony to start these important conversations with your students.

10. Practice being an upstander!

Support a cause or a group of people in need and tell us about it in social media at #10YearsofEchoes. Take a stand with #beyondwitness, the Anti-Defamation League- supported National Campaign for Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, or click here for the #beyondwitness toolkit and more information on what you can do.