Liberian Truth & Reconciliation hearings expand across country

Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights is a lead organization for Liberian Truth and Reconciliation hearings around the world.

With Minnesota, Chicago, Atlanta, and Philadelphia moving forward with established statement-giving programs, the TRC Diaspora Project is working with Liberian community leaders and project partners in Staten Island, N.Y., Washington D.C., Providence, R.I., and London, U.K. to expand the scope of the project. Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights is conducting meetings and trainings with project partners as well as helping to support outreach in the Liberian community for these cities. Statement-giving will begin in these areas this September and will continue through the end of 2007.

It is also expected that TRC Commissioner Massa Washington to visit the United States this September and conduct community meetings about the TRC on the East Coast. There are a variety of community events where everyone is invited to attend. Commissioner will also visit U.K.

In New York; The Staten Island Liberian Community Association, Inc. (SILCA), and The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Diaspora Project will present a Workshop with the Republic of Liberia TRC Commissioner Massa Washington. In that meeting will be discussed the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the United States with TRC Commissioner Washington and representatives from Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights. The meeting will also discuss current updates on TPS immigration issues. The organizers are encouraging all Liberians and Friends and Liberia within the Staten Island and Tri- State areas to attend.

PLACE: African Dance Hall
(Opposite CitiBank on Bay St.)
568 Bay St., Staten Island, NY 10304
DATE: Saturday, Sept. 8, 2007
TIME: 11am - 5pm
Admission Is Free! Refreshment Will Be Served!
CONTACTS: Telee Brown 718-496-7492; TRC 1-800- 799- 3688; R. Arkoi 917-365-7903

Public Engagement
As has been the case with other truth commissions around the world, the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Liberia is now embarking on the public engagement phase of its work. Unlike statement taking, which is private, this phase involves thinking about the ways in which the TRC can foster reconciliation and healing through public conferences, discussions, tributes to victims, and public hearings.

The TRC of Liberia has asked Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights to 1) host public hearings in the United States, 2) conduct background research to inform the TRC's final report, and 3) create a final report for the TRC to include recommendations for reconciliation from the Liberian Diaspora community. Every interested Liberian should have the opportunity to present their views, experiences and ideas to the TRC. Accordingly, the TRC Diaspora Project plans to use a variety of methods of public engagement to attract the input of as many Liberians as possible. Minnesota Advocates is in the beginning stages of this aspect of the Diaspora Project.

Give your Statement!
There are multiple ways in which to contribute to the peace building process by giving your statement to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In-person interviews are being conducted in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta and will soon be extended to Providence, Staten Island, Washington D.C., and London. If you live in one of these cities, fill out the form by clicking here or call the appropriate phone number below and we will arrange for volunteers to call you, set up an appointment with you at a convenient time and place, and take your statement.

National Toll Free: 1-800-799-3688
Minnesota: 612-766-7788
Chicago: 312-258-4599 (*new)
Atlanta: 404-604-7139
Philadelphia: 215-751-2820

Phone interviews are being scheduled across the U.S. for people not living in the statement-taking cities. Fill out the form by clicking here or call 1-800-799- 3688 and we will arrange for volunteers to call you and take your statement over the phone.

You can also submit your statement in writing. If you would prefer to write about your experiences and recommendations without talking to a volunteer, please fill out the forms available by clicking here. and return them to Minnesota Advocates.

You can tell the TRC about:
1. Your opinions about what caused the conflict in Liberia.
2. What happened to you, your friends, family, and neighbors between 1979 and 2003. You can tell the TRC what happened to your property, your town, your county, your tribe, and your country during the conflict. You do not need to have been in Liberia during this time to give a statement.
3. Your opinions about the future of Liberia. You can give recommendations to the TRC regarding what you think should happen next for Liberia. Let your voice be heard!

Washington , D.C. : The Liberian Community Association of the Washington D.C. Metro (LCA), in collaboration with THE Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (trc) Diaspora Project present a Community Town Hall Forum. This Town Hall Forum will discuss many issues important to the Liberian community in the Washington D.C. metro area. Your attendance is critical as we discuss the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the United States with TRC Commissioner Massa Washington and representatives from Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, as well as upcoming elections and immigration (TPS) issues. All Liberians within the Washington metro area are requested to attend.

PLACE: Whosever Will Baptist Church
4515 Sellman Road (Opposite the Beltsville Post Office)
Beltsville, MD 20705
Tel: 301-806-0557
DATE: Sunday, September 9, 2007
TIME: 4:00 P. M.
Light refreshments will be served

Providence R.I. and Newark, N.J.More information will be provided regarding community meetings in Providence and Newark taking place the weekend of September 14-15.

Volunteer to Help!
Would you like to help the TRC by volunteering to do outreach, or to plan events in your city? If so, please fill out the volunteer interest form by clicking here.

Tags: environment, Minneapolis, Camden
Save money and the environment — take the energy challenge
by John Helgeland, Camden News

Thirty-seven Camden residents have committed to making small changes that will save them approximately $460 per household annually off of their home energy and transportation costs. The reasons behind their efforts differ; some do it to save money, but others approach it as a way to reduce their impact on the environment. The Minnesota Energy Challenge (www.mnenergychallenge.org) provides a fairly simple step-by-step guide for individuals and families to see how much they can reduce their carbon consumption and cut their expenses. Some examples are turning down their thermostat a few degrees, taking shorter showers or changing traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

Daniel Huff, Sustainability Project Coordinator for the City of Minneapolis, has a goal to do a climate crisis presentation in each of the City’s 14 wards and through a Climate-Change Micro Grant, the Cleveland Neighborhood Association is organizing the Fourth Ward event “Greener Possibilities” at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 27 at Webber Park. Huff received training from Al Gore to do the presentation that was featured in the Academy Award winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." The presentation has been updated with current data and shows specific data on how global warming impacts Minnesota.

In addition to the presentation and a question/answer period (and a free energy audit door prize for attendees), residents are invited to take the Minnesota Energy Challenge on the day of the event. They will be able to get information about Hour Car, a car-share program that currently has 15 locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Car-share programs are designed to allow a household the ability to reserve and use a car, without bearing the entire cost of maintaining the vehicle. This not only provides the opportunity to reduce the cost of auto transportation, but can save households the cost of owning a second car or aid those households that currently do not have a car available.

Currently, the closest Hour Car hub is in the North Loop neighborhood and if there is enough interest and support a car could be located in the Camden community. Typically, each Hour Car needs the support of 40 households. More information regarding Hour Car and other energy saving tips will be available at the Greener Possibilities event on September 27.

Camden residents are urged to take the Minnesota Energy Challenge - do it today. Make sure that one of the teams that you select is your neighborhood team. If you have already completed the challenge, but not signed up for your neighborhood team, consider updating your commitment, and using your neighborhood as one of the three teams for the challenge. According to mnenergychallenge.org, the current standings by neighborhood are listed below.

For more info visit www.northhousingfair.com/green, www.hourcar.org and www.mnenergychallenge.org.