Memphis- Rose Mapendo, the 2009 Humanitarian of the Year by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, will present “Pushing the Elephant” as part of Christian Brothers University’s Black History Month celebrations on Thursday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m. in Spain Auditorium, Buckman Hall. A reception will immediately follow the program.
Mapendo and her husband, born in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, had seven children when the Rwandan army invaded the Congo and war broke out in August 1998. In response to Rwanda’s invasion, Congo’s President Kabila announced that some ethnic groups inside Congo were the enemy. This proclamation was a death-knell for Mapendo and her family whose ethnicity had been pronounced “the enemy.” After being imprisoned, she watched close friends, relatives and even her husband die from malnutrition, disease and brutal abuse.
After being imprisoned for 16 months in the death camps, Mapendo and her children were flown to a refugee camp in northern Cameroon and ultimately settled in the United States.
Today, Mapendo is a global activist for peace and reconciliation and an in-demand motivational speaker. Along with her brother, Dr. Kigabo Mbazumutima, she co-founded Mapendo New Horizons – a non-profit organization committed to educating the global audience about the effects of war on women and children; providing much-needed assistance to the victims of war; offering underserved regions access to medical technology; and enlightening persons all about society’s forgotten people.
Mapendo’s work has had a significant impact and invigorated world and local leaders to revisit the manner in which justice is enforced. In addition to being named 2009 Humanitarian of the Year, Mapendo has been honored by The White House, and her story has been chronicled in the documentary film, Pushing the Elephant, which premiered in New York City in June 2010.
CBU will continue its month long celebration with an African American Film Series which kicks-off with “Amistad” on Friday, February 4; followed by “Hotel Rwanda” Wednesday, February 16 and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” Wednesday, February 23. All showings begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Spain Auditorium.
Addressing the impact of court decisions in black history, Dr. Karl Leib, Associate Professor, History/Political Science and Dr. Benjamin Head, Instruction Librarian, Plough Librarian, will present the “Four Important Supreme Court Decisions in Black History” at a brown bag luncheon on Tuesday, February 8 at 12:30 p.m. in Sabbatini Lounge, Thomas Center. Lunch will be provided to the first 40 individuals.
On Tuesday, February 22, D’Army Bailey, Former Circuit Court Judge and Civil Rights Activist, will present “The Story of a Journey”. Mr. Bailey is the author of “The Education of a Black Radical: A Southern Civil Rights Activist’s Journey 1959-1964″. The presentation will be at 7:00 p.m. in the University Theater.
CBU invites the community to participate in these celebrations. These events are free and open to the public.
For more information about these Black History Month events, contact Karen Conway-Barnett at email@example.com or (901) 321-3536 ###