The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum will honor its Atlanta benefactors: Charles S. Ackerman, Bernie and Billi Marcus, and The Coca-Cola Company and thank the community for its special partnership at a tribute dinner on November 13, 2012 at the Georgia Aquarium.
As the Museum looks ahead to celebrating its 20th anniversary in April 2013, it will recognize the important role and support of the Atlanta community. In addition to recognizing the generous leadership of Ackerman, Marcus, and Coca-Cola, the tribute dinner, themed “Impacting Our World: What You Do Matters” will also acknowledge 25 local families, foundations and companies whose significant support has been instrumental in furthering its mission. Their generosity is recognized in perpetuity on the Donors Wall at the Museum in Washington DC.
“For 20 years, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has reminded us of the lessons of the Holocaust, the threats of indifference and the importance of confronting hate wherever it exists,,” said Charles Ackerman, Museum supporter and dinner honoree. “I am honored and excited to be a part of this occasion recognizing the Atlanta community and the visionaries who helped ensure that the idea for the Museum indeed became a reality.”
The Museum’s ties with the Atlanta community date back to the establishment of the President’s Commission on the Holocaust in 1978 on the recommendation of Stuart E. Eizenstat, a native of Atlanta who served as chief White House Domestic Policy Adviser to President Carter. The late Isaac Goodfriend and Marilyn Shubin served on the Commission chaired by Elie Wiesel that recommended building the Museum as a living memorial to honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust be taught to future generations. Local leaders Charles S. Ackerman, Samuel DuBois Cook, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, Senator Mack Mattingly, Michael A. Morris and William A. Scott, III have subsequently served on the Museum’s governing council.
The November 13th Tribute Dinner will feature a keynote address from Rwandan genocide survivor, Clemantine Wamariya, who in November 2011, was appointed by President Obama to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the Museum’s governing board. During the six years following the genocide in her hometown, Wamariya lived in refugee camps in seven different African countries before arriving in Chicago in 2000.
In 2005, Wamariya appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show because hers was one of 50 winning essays written by high school students nationwide on why Elie Wiesel’s Holocaust memoir Night remains relevant in today’s world. Since first discussing her life as a refugee and strong commitment to eradicating genocide, Wamariya has traveled the country, speaking at numerous universities, high schools and other organizations.
“The Museum was built to continually remind us of the Holocaust and its victims. We must learn the lessons of that unprecedented tragedy in order to prevent future genocides,” said Stuart Eizenstat, a member of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, which oversees the Museum’s genocide prevention efforts, and a key initiator of the Museum.
“Clemantine’s story of survival teaches us about the power of humanity in the face of evil. She is a remarkable young woman and her participation in the Atlanta Tribute Dinner is an amazing special opportunity to discuss the Museum’s important work to educate people about genocide today and to work towards making ‘Never Again’ a reality,” he noted.
At Wamariya’s request, Zimbabwean born businessman Strive Masiyiwa has provided funds for 10 Morehouse students to attend the dinner. Masiyiwa is a cell phone pioneer and founder of Econet Wireless. The students will be seated at various tables throughout the room in order to interact with other guests.