Newsier : . Nobel Peace Prize shared by two who help rape survivors in the midst of war

Dr. Denis Mukwege

Oct. 8, 2018 (GIN) – “For 15 years I have witnessed mass atrocities committed against women’s bodies and I cannot remain with my arms folded because our common humanity calls on us to care for each other.” Those were the words of Dr. Denis Mukwege, a physician working in one of the most dangerous regions of the world. Now, Dr. Mukwege, founder of Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nadia Murad, an Iraqi survivor of sexual violence, are this year’s co-winners of the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. Known as the rape surgeon, Dr. Mukwege has helped care for more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence even as he himself is at risk and attacks against women are on the upswing. “I’m sorry to say that three years ago the situation was better but now many armed groups are growing again and the number of women who are raped is increasing again,” Dr. Mukwege told the BBC. The 63-year-old Congolese gynecologist set up the Panzi hospital nearly 20 years ago, shortly after his first experience treating a woman who had been raped and mutilated by armed men. His crusading work has seen him honored on many occasions, receiving the Olof Palme Prize in 2009, the Sakharov Prize five years later, and the Seoul Peace Prize in 2016. He has been nominated for the Nobel award on numerous previous occasions. He has also been recognized by the United Nations, which he addressed in 2012, criticizing the Congolese government and neighboring countries for pursuing “an unjust war that has used violence against women and rape as a strategy of war.” Panzi hospital now cares for more than 3,500 women a year. Sometimes Dr. Mukwege performs as many as 10 operations a day. It has grown to be a major health facility in eastern DR Congo with over 300 doctors, nurses and support staff. U.S. playwright Eve Ensler wrote: “He has not only saved lives, he has also travelled the world to bring attention to these women’s fate, everywhere from the UN to the European parliament to Washington DC. He – together with women survivors – has woken the world to the use of rape as a tactic of war and armed conflict in DRC and elsewhere.” “City of Joy,” a documentary which spotlights the survivors and Dr. Mukwege’s work, is available on Netflix.

Newswire : Martin Luther King, Jr. was a champion for equity in education

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, at march in Selma, with children of Rev. Ralph Abernathy
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s influence on the Civil Rights Movement is indisputable, but his fight for equity in education remains a mystery to some. That fight began with his own education.
“He clearly had an advanced, refined educational foundation from Booker T. Washington High School, Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University,” said Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., the founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “His education in his speeches and sermons and writings were apparent and he wanted us all to have that type of education.”
King completed high school at 15, college at 19, seminary school at 22 and earned a doctorate at 26.
“Dr. King laid down the case for affordable education for all Americans, including Polish children—from the ghetto and the barrios, to the Appalachian mountains and the reservations—he was a proponent for education for all and he believed that strong minds break strong chains and once you learn your lesson well, the oppressor could not unlearn you.”
Rev. Al Sharpton, the founder and president of the National Action Network (NAN), said that NAN works with Education for a Better America to partner with school districts, universities, community colleges, churches, and community organizations around the country to conduct educational programming for students and parents.
“The mission of the organization has been to build bridges between policymakers and the classrooms by supporting innovations in education and creating a dialogue between policymakers, community leaders, educators, parents, and students,” Sharpton said. “We’re promoting student health, financial literacy, and college readiness in our communities, just like Dr. King did.”
King was a figure to look up to in both civil rights and academia, Sharpton told the NNPA Newswire.
“Then, when you look at his values, he always saw education, especially in the Black community, as a tool to uplift and inspire to action,” Sharpton said. “It’s definitely no coincidence that a number of prominent civil rights groups that emerged during Dr. King’s time, were based on college campuses.”
Sharpton added that King routinely pushed for equality to access to education.
“Just as importantly, he always made a point to refer education back to character—that we shouldn’t sacrifice efficiency and speed for morals,” Sharpton said. “A great student not only has the reason and education, but a moral compass to do what’s right with his or her gifts. It’s not just important to be smart, you have to know what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Dr. Wornie Reed, the director of Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech who marched with King, said when he thinks of King and education, he immediately considers the late civil rights leader’s advocating that “we should be the best that we could be.”
“King certainly prepared himself educationally…early on he saw that education played a crucial role in society, but perceived it as often being misused,” Reed said. “In a famous essay that he wrote for the student newspaper at Morehouse in 1947, he argued against a strictly utilitarian approach to education, one that advanced the individual and not society.”
Maryland Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, who remembers running home from church on Sundays to listen to King’s speeches on radio, said King had a tremendous impact on education in the Black community.
“Dr. King worked tirelessly to ensure that African Americans would gain the rights they had long been denied, including the right to a quality education,” said Cummings. “His fight for equality in educational opportunities helped to tear down walls of segregation in our nation’s schools.”
Cummings continued: “He instilled hope in us that we can achieve our dreams no matter the color of our skin. He instilled in us the notion that everyone can be great, because everyone can serve and there are so many great advocates, who embody this lesson.”
In support of education equality, civil rights leaders across the country are still working to ensure all students, regardless of color, receive access to experienced teachers, equitable classroom resources and quality education, Cummings noted further.
For example, the NAACP has done a tremendous amount, across the country, to increase retention rates, ensure students have the resources they need, and prepare students for success after graduation—whether it be for college or a specific career path, Cummings said.
During his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway, King said: “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
The need for high quality education in the Black community is universal and the route to get there may be different, but education does matter, Jackson said.
“Dr. King told me he read a fiction and a non-fiction book once a week. He was an avid reader and, in the spirit of Dr. King, today we fight for equal, high-quality education,” said Jackson. “We fight for skilled trade training, affordable college education and beyond.”