1.What is #TogetherWeRemember?
#TogetherWeRemember is a global movement to make the promises of “Never Forget” and “Never Again” count for all humanity through globally synchronized activism campaigns. Each April, in honor of Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, we mobilize communities across the globe to organize public name reading vigils that transform the memory of the past into the most powerful tool for building peace in the present. Thousands read from our archive of names and share their experiences live on social media using the #TogetherWeRemember hashtag. In real time, we crowdsource a virtual living memorial to victims of atrocities and the heroes who have fought against them.
2.What issues does #TogetherWeRemember seek to address?
Ours is a world at war over the essence of our human story--whether humanity or inhumanity is the dominant gene in our DNA. Case in point, we continue to fall far short on our promise of “Never Again” and, as a result, mass atrocities continue on our watch. We are reminded of this failure all-too often as the consequences of our inaction play on repeat in the 24-hour news cycle and on social media, numbing our capacity for compassion, heightening fear of "the other," and eroding the will to act.
Consider the failure of governments across the world to recognize the Armenian genocide and a multitude of others, mostly for lack of political willpower and moral courage. When we do remember these events, it is often on annual days of remembrance specific to particular genocides. Important as these days are, they silo broader awareness and result in a competitive environment for attention when we need to raise our voices as one. We are also at a troubling crossroads, as some of our strongest allies in genocide awareness, survivors of the Holocaust, have almost completely passed on.
3.How does #TogetherWeRemember make a difference?
Elie Wiesel and Samuel Totten once said: "Memory can be a graveyard, but it can also be the true kingdom of man. The choice is before humanity." We hope to inspire millions around the world to choose to join us on the right side of history and declare as one: “#TogetherWeRemember humanity at its worst to inspire humanity to be its best.”Each year, we will unite communities in solidarity, give voice to the voiceless both past and present, and inspire one another to honor the rights of those affected by atrocities - to memory, justice, healing, and safe refuge. This is not a one-time event. April 2017 is the inauguration of an annual global tradition in which we examine our progress towards fulfilling the promises of “Never Forget” and “Never Again” for all people in our world. Until we stop adding names to the list of victims, we have work to do.
4.Who is involved in leading #TogetherWeRemember?
#TogetherWeRemember is the flagship campaign and namesake of the founding organization behind the movement: Together We Remember (TWR). TWR is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the memory of past genocides and atrocities into the most powerful tool for building peace in the present through globally synchronized activism campaigns.
To take the campaign global, TWR teamed up with STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities. STAND brings deep expertise in anti-atrocity advocacy as well as a global network of student communities committed to making “Never Again” a reality.
A full list of our partners and participating communities is available on our homepage.
5.How did #TogetherWeRemember get started? What's the story?
Learn about our story here.
6.How can I get involved?
Whether you are a student leader, a member of a community organization, or simply an individual with a big heart, you are welcomed to the global TWR community! As a grassroots, citizen-led movement, there's plenty to be done. Take your pick!
Sign up to lead a name reading vigil in your community
Apply to join our team and support #TogetherWeRemember in a number of ways, from digital storytelling (blogging, video production, social media) to research (names/stories of victims and rescuers, policy, etc)
Launch a STAND chapter in your community to advocate for atrocity prevention all year long
7.Why read names?
We read names of victims of different genocides as well as rescuers that had the courage to save lives despite the risk to themselves and their families. Doing so allows us to breathe new life into the memories of these individuals and affirm that they existed, they mattered, and they still matter--not just to their direct ancestors--but to all of humanity. For one day a year, our voices and our communities become the final resting place for those that were robbed of their right to choose a final resting place for themselves. It is a right that many of us take for granted and it is a tradition that all of humanity shares in some form.
Reading names is also the greatest honor we can give the departed because their memories have an incredible power to build peace in our communities, at home and abroad. Since Together We Remember’s founding at Duke University in 2012, each year we have brought together people of all different races and religions to affirm their common humanity and build mutual respect and empathy regardless of our differences. In times of great tension, we can rely on the #TogetherWeRemember name reading vigil to remind us of our shared suffering, shared courage, and the opportunity to do better for one another in the future.
Reading names is also a very accessible way to begin and sustain a conversation around the topic of genocide and atrocity prevention. The slogans “Never Forget” and “Never Again” have lost much of the meaning and power they once had in the wake of the Holocaust because we have failed again and again to follow through on our promises. Through the name reading, we can hold ourselves accountable and ask, “How many names have we allowed to be added to the list this year?”
8.Where did you get the names from?
We compile our archive through online research and the generous contributions of memory and documentation centers around the world who share our commitment to preserving memory. We also accept names that are contributed by individuals or surviving family members. If you would like to contribute to our archive or have questions about our methodology, please contact us at email@example.com.
9. Why is the event during the month of April?
April is quickly gaining recognition as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month with annual remembrance days for multiple genocides, including Armenia, the Holocaust, and Rwanda. It’s a powerful annual occasion for sustained organization and advocacy while respecting existing commemoration events. The timing is also ideal to mobilize students in school while the weather is fairly agreeable.
10. What are genocide and mass atrocities?
At STAND and Together We Remember, we rely on existing legal definitions and international categorizations to determine the scope of genocide and mass atrocity crimes we recognize. Specifically, our definition of "genocide" comes from the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide - an international treaty body. To define "mass atrocity crimes", we rely on the specifications outlined in the 2005 World Summit Outcomes Document. This document, unanimously agreed upon by all UN member states, determines that genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing qualify as mass atrocity crimes. The individual definitions of these crimes can be found below:
Genocide:[A]ny of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,racial or religious group, as such:
- Killing members of the group;
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Definitions for the other mass atrocity crimes are listed in their original texts in the UN Framework for Analysis of Atrocity Crimes here.
On principle, we believe that there is no strength in comparing or placing the pain experienced at the hands of any of these atrocity crimes on a hierarchy. We acknowledge the inhumanity and damage caused by all four of these crimes. As a community, we commemorate their tragedy in equal measure and mourn the loss of anyone lost to these large-scale violent crimes.
11. Which genocides and mass atrocities do you recognize?
The following is the list of genocides and mass atrocities for which we we have found or received victims' names:
- The Armenian Genocide
- The Holocaust
- Genocidal Massacres of Native Americans
- The Cambodian Genocide
- The Bangladesh Genocide
- The Argentine Dirty War
- The Rwandan Genocide
- The Bosnian Genocide
- The Kosovo War
- The East Timor Genocide
- The Darfur Genocide
- The Syrian Civil War
- The South Sudan Civil War
We are actively searching for names of victims of other genocides and atrocities:
- The African Slave Trade
- The Herero and Nama Genocide
- The Holodomor (Ukrainian Forced Famine)
- El Corte / Parsely Massacres
- The Nanjing Massacre
- US Internment of Japanese
- Mao and the Great Leap Forward
- The Stolen Generation (Cultural Genocide of Aboriginese in Australia)
- The Indonesian Genocide
- The Equatorial Guinea Genocide
- The Guatemalan Genocide
- The Sri Lankan Civil War
- Al Anfal Campaign
- The Helmut Massacre
- Ethiopian Civil War
- Somali Massacres
- Genocidal Violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
- The Yazidi Genocide
- The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
- The Nuba Mountains, Sudan
12. Can I submit names of victims to your archive?
Certainly. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share as much descriptive detail as possible (e.g. date of birth, date of death, age at death, cause of death, profession, the genocide / atrocity). Also, please share the original source of these names.
12. How do you choose which genocides and mass atrocities to recognize? Why not "_______" genocide / atrocity?
While we are clearly passionate about commemorating and preventing the world's worst crimes, classifying them is not within our per view. Because no single agreed-upon list of the world's genocides and mass atrocities exists, we and a team of volunteers have crowdsourced and compiled a list of broadly recognized and recorded mass atrocity crimes over the years. While we attempt to make this list as inclusive and comprehensive as possible, there are no doubt incidences and case studies we have missed. We acknowledge, regret, and are constantly trying to remedy this.
If you are interested in #TogetherWeRemember adding a particular historical or ongoing example we have missed, feel free to contact our team at email@example.com. We'd love for you to help educate us, work with us to compile resources on the conflict, and/or contribute names to our ever-growing database of victims.