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Voices of Vigilance

A photo of Paul Rusesabagina.

The Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Project presents:

A Lesson Yet to Be Learned

12th annual Voices of Vigilance Program
featuring Paul Rusesabagina 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Theatre, Robin and Tim Wentworth Arts Building (Building 4)
MCC's Brighton Campus, 1000 East Henrietta Road, Rochester
Tickets available online: $5 with MCC ID; $10 general public
Parking available in Lot F.

Download the Flyer

Watch The Rwandan Genocide video to learn more about this historic event.

About the Speaker: Paul Rusesabagina
In 1994, Paul Rusesabagina was a young man who was going places. A Rwandan hotel manager employed by Sabena to run one of the most important properties in Kigali, Mr. Rusesabagina knew all the movers and shakers and how to keep them happy. Paul worked at the Hotel des Mille Collines and then the Diplomat Hotel. His future was very bright. But, on April 6, 1994 something happened in that small African country that changed everything. A plane carrying the President of Rwanda and the President of Burundi was shot down and both men were killed. This sparked the violence that grew into the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda during which more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed.

After the plane was shot down, Mr. Rusesabagina and his family and some neighbors were taken at gunpoint from their home to the Diplomat Hotel by soldiers who ordered him to kill his family and neighbors and demanded money from them. Mr. Rusesabagina used his charm and sales skills to save his family and the neighbors that traveled with him. He traded money for lives and food for favors. Eventually 1,268 people ended up seeking shelter at the hotel.

During the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the Hotel, under Mr. Rusesabagina's leadership, was the only public place where people were safe. Soldiers came to threaten him, slaughters happened outside the gates, but the people at the Hotel were safe. The story of Mr. Rusesabagina's life during the genocide has been told in the movie Hotel Rwanda and his autobiography An Ordinary Man.

After the release of the movie and his book, Mr. Rusesabagina received many awards and honors, including the Immortal Chaplains Prize for Humanity, the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Rescuer of Humanity Award and the Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize. 

Our guest will answer questions following the presentation. Tickets are required and available online at