PREVENT HATE Speakers Bureau for At-Risk Youth Going Strong

On Tuesday, May 25, 2010, PREVENT HATE brought one of our speakers to Canoga High School in Los Angeles, CA for a program to inspire youth away from hate and violence, and to open their minds to creative outlets for their frustrations.

Mr. Zuhdi Sardar, a brilliant artist from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, spoke for approximately 45 minutes to a large group of students about his experiences with institutionalized discrimination and intergroup violence under Saddam Hussein’s regime, as well as his determination to channel his anger into productive methods. Today, Zuhdi Sardar’s smile is irrepresible, as well as is the love for humanity that he exudes.

An ethnic minority in the Middle East, the Kurds have been subjected to systemic violations of their human rights by various political parties representing ethnic majorities in the region. Mr. Sardar’s story is one of hope and inspiration, explaining how the friendships he cultivated across ethnic lines saved his life at a time when nearly all his childhood friends were murdered by government forces. At the end of the program, he opened his portfolio and shared some of his art with the students. The swarm of youth that approached Mr. Sardar at the end of his speech was a strong testimony to his message and his ability to speak directly to the hearts of at-risk youth.

For more information on Zuhdi Sardar’s art, please visit zuhdisardar.com.

PREVENT HATE’s speakers bureau brings survivors of genocide and severe crimes against humanity to speak to students about overcoming their differences, rejecting violence, and making a productive contribution to society. Our speakers are role models who have been through the worst hellfire, and yet, celebrate life.  As is always the case, at the end of the program, we were asked to come back.

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Update: Lost Boys of Sudan at Hollywood High School

The Lost Boys of Sudan were really well received at Hollywood High School. They shared stories. They played music. They laughed. They danced. They engaged the students to put their own troubles into perspective, and encouraged them to reject hate and make a positive contribution to society. Overall, the program was a huge success, and really impacted Hollywood High’s at-risk students. This was a great cross-cultural event. Imagine youth playing music together — one from Africa using makeshift instruments from his refugee camp, and the rest from Hollywood using modern instruments. Amazing experience … 

 

The music really helped crystalize the stories in the minds of the students, and showed that even after so much adversity, the need to celebrate life is strong. This program showed the triumphant power of the human spirit. We’ll have a video of it ready soon.

 

PREVENT HATE is working to inspire our youth to be better tomorrow than they are today.
 
Here is a quote from one of their teachers:
 
“Through guest speakers like Benson and Alephonsian Deng, PREVENT HATE puts a human face on one of the great tragedies of our modern world. Hollywood’s students were deeply affected by their story of the destructive properties of violence in Sudan. But more importantly, students were fortunate to have met these living examples of the human potential to persevere, to overcome, and to inspire others. Our schools need more programs like this. I look forward to working with PREVENT HATE again.”
Benson Deng and students2
Benson Deng playing music with students
Alephonsion Deng speaking to students
Alepho Deng at HHS

The Lost Boys of Sudan Visiting Hollywood High School

 Who are the Lost Boys?
In the mid 1980’s, troops of the oppressive fundamentalist government in Northern Sudan began attacking the Black Christian and animist villages in the south. As their houses burned, their parents killed, and their sisters taken into slavery, over 27,000 little boys fled into the night. Many no more than five or six years old, barefoot and naked, without food or water, began their epic journey that would take them a thousand miles across Sudan into Ethiopia. They crossed deserts and mountains, dodged enemy fire and wild animals and endured thirst, starvation and disease. Less than half survived.
flyer-for-hollywood-high-school-program52
Why are they visiting Hollywood High School?
 
PREVENT HATE is bringing the Lost Boys of Sudan to Hollywood High School to engage at-risk students through their story telling and music making.
 
Using make-shift instruments they found in their refugee camp to play their music, and telling personal stories of overcoming severe adversity and hardship at the hands of a violent and discriminatory government, the Lost Boys are coming to Hollywood High School to inspire the students to reject hate, and to make a positive contribution to society no matter what their own difficulties may be.
 
This is part of PREVENT HATE’s way of encouraging youth to dedicate themselves to make this world a place with less victims.