The Rwanda community in Chicago, Illinois, USA commemorated the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi on April 13 at Misseo Dei Church in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood.
Rwandans came from as far away as Indianapolis, Indiana; South Bend, Indiana; West LaFayette, Indiana; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Diaspora from Kenya and Uganda living in the Chicago land also attended.
Churches such as the Branch Church in Glen Elyn, Illinois; Ignite Church Planting Chicago; and the Southeastern Church of Christ, Indianapolis, Indiana sent delegations.
A portion of the Rwandans traveling to Chicago for the Memorial are Presidential Scholars.
Much of the mobilization and organization of the Commemoration was led by Rwandan university students in Chicago.
Worship for the Memorial was led by Jana Jenkins, Queen Rama, Scolastica Wangui, and Noah Wright
Shami Elodie explained Rwanda’s history for those attending who were new to Rwanda.
Uwineza Annabella shared her testimony as a Genocide survivor. She narrated what it was like to lose the majority of her family at the age of four.
Butera Uwase Clementine also shared her testimony as a Genocide survivor who witnessed the killing of her family when she was eleven years old. Their testimonials were followed by a minute of silence.
Pastor Dave Jenkins offered a confession of sin for the American people, churches in East Africa, and his own silence in 1994.
Throughout the Memorial the Christ Candle burned to symbolize that Jesus Christ was present in Rwanda suffering with the victims of Genocide against the Tutsi.
Nineteen candles were lit to symbolize the nineteen years since 1994, and testify that God’s light shining through Rwanda cannot be hidden.
Holy Communion was shared by all with no denominational discrimination.
Dr. Ssebunya Edward Kasule brought a message of condolences from Rwanda’s neighbors. He quoted a Ugandan proverb, “A fire cannot burn only one house in a village.”
He encouraged the East African community in Chicago to make a choice to form friendships beyond ethnicity that would embrace public service and make a lasting change.
The functions closing prayer was offered by Urayeneza Marcel.
Following the Commemoration informal visiting gave an opportunity for the Rwandan community to further inform those from outside Rwanda about Rwanda’s healing and current investment opportunities.