November 12, 2012: The Student Task Force joined the California Committee South in honoring Abbé Benoît Kinalegu, 2012 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism honoree from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Ida Sawyer, Human Rights Watch DRC researcher, for an evening of empowerment.
Prior to the award ceremony, STF hosted a reception where STF students and teachers from all 12 chapters met Abbé Benoît Kinalegu and Ms. Sawyer for a question and answer period. Students learned Abbé Benoît Kinalegu is known in the DRC as a protector of children who are victims of the Lords Resistance Army and he also started an early warning system to protect against the LRA. Ida Sawyer, HRW Africa Researcher, shared how she conducts outreach with local civil society groups and research across Congo and in areas of northern Congo and neighboring countries affected by the LRA. The reception inspired students to continue working on the right to education. Abbé Benoît said, “Human rights begins at the school desk….your messages will support me in my struggle…one more time I salute you, thank you for your work.”
Photos by Maya Myers