The opening ceremony of the From One Witness to Another: Genocide Awareness Series began Sunday on Bo Diddley Community Plaza.
The series will continue through Wednesday as UF Hillel recognizes Genocide Awareness Month.
Genocide is traditionally defined as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, particularly those of a particular ethnic group or nation.
During the opening ceremony, UF students Sarah Pila, a 22-year-old psychology senior; Kimmie Klaiman, a 20-year-old economics and family, youth and community sciences senior; and Stefani Pila, a 22-year-old history major; read testimonies of survivors from the Armenian genocide, the Rwandan genocide and the Cambodian genocide. UF Hillel Rabbi Daniel Wolnerman spoke about being the grandson of Holocaust survivors.
The series is an effort to inform the community of the acts of hatred that have occurred in 43 countries, Sarah Pila said.
“I think it’s very special that here at the University of Florida, we’re able to not only acknowledge the Holocaust, which affected predominantly the Jewish population, but also able to incorporate that into the larger scheme of genocide awareness,” Wolnerman said.
Five candles were lit to commemorate the billions of deaths. White ribbons were handed out to represent people lost to genocide.
“It’s important because we always say, ‘Never again,’ and it’s still happening,” said Katie Gillen, a 21-year-old UF telecommunication senior.
Rabbi Daniel Wolnerman, of UF Hillel, lights a candle at a memorial ceremony commemorating genocide victims on Bo Diddley Community Plaza on Sunday. April is Genocide Awareness Month.