Imagine you just found out that six million people were killed by genocide. What would you do?
On May 4, the Walk to End Genocide will take place with the Temple Etz Chaim and the United Methodist Church from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Thousand Oaks.
The event admission is $15 and there will be crafts, art, music and food.
California Lutheran University Campus Ministry Rabbi Belle Michael said this particular walk began 10 years ago with an organization called the Jewish World Watch after the genocide in Rwanda and the Congo.
According to Michael, many people don’t know about the genocide or care enough about it to help those who are in need.
“We are obligated not to stand idly by. We know that atrocities, death and suffering is happening and we’re trying to bring it to awareness and doing whatever we can to help,” Michael said.
Michael said that is why JWW put it on their radar to let people know that these genocides are going on.
“Unfortunately it’s still going on for 10 years now,” Michael said.
JWW organizes the walk to bring awareness and fundraise money to help save the victims by providing them life, food and other means of survival.
“The Walk to End Genocide is the largest anti-genocide rally in the country,” said Michael Jeser, executive director of JWW.
According to Jeser, this event is a communal expression against genocide. People of all ages are encouraged to participate.
Jeser added that this year’s genocide walk also marks not only the 10th anniversary of the event, but the anniversary of several other genocides that have happened.
“This walk is not a Jewish walk per say, it’s a humanitarian walk. People from all walks of life and all faiths gather together… to raise money to help the victims of this war. We don’t know these people and we will never see them, however the $15 we can donate can help them make their lives better,” Michael said.
Senior Ye Htet Aung shared his cultural knowledge of his country’s genocide.
“Genocide in Burma was really bad. Many people were killed because of their different beliefs and religion,” Aung said.
According to Aung, the dictatorship of Burma didn’t allow freedom of the individual religious groups. They wanted a united and uniform government and country, which lead to the mass murders of many people.
“I want people to be aware that we are living in a blessed country with no genocides. Also, they should be aware and contribute to help other unfortunate people all over the world,” Aung said.
Michael listed the reasons why CLU students should attend this event.
“First, it’s a fun walk. We all live in this world, we all can contribute for an hour of fun, easy walk. It’s also raising awareness of what’s going on in the world. We are part of the Conejo Valley and our university is a part of the Conejo Valley. We want to be represented in the community,” Michael said.
Michael is hoping CLU students can become informed and build more awareness, which will possibly trigger their interests to read more about it through research.
“People are people and we need to take care of each other. If we know people are suffering, we need to do something about it,” Michael said.
Like the motto says, “Fight Genocide. Do not stand idly by.” Visit walktoendgenocide.org for more information.
Published April 30, 2014