Let Freedom Ring: HMH Celebrates International Day of Peace
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” - Nelson Mandela
In honor of International Day of Peace, Sept. 21, Holocaust Museum Houston hosted a virtual event called "Let Freedom Ring." Long-time friends Trish Morille and Lisa Sheinbaum co-chaired the “Let Freedom Ring” event, which also celebrated the recently-opened HMH exhibition, Mandela: Struggle for Freedom.
“Trish and I come from very different backgrounds, but she’s like family to me and what we have in common are our values and our morals,” said Lisa. “We wanted to work on something together that would be important to the community and was meaningful to us as well. We patiently waited. We knew something would come, and this event was it.”
The evening celebration featured Houstonian Linda Lorelle, Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist in conversation with Earlie Hudnall, Jr., renowned photographer and Texas Southern University professor.
“From this event, I hope viewers walked away with a better understanding that we are all connected,” said Trish. “We all have a wonderful opportunity and responsibility to spark peaceful, respectful dialogue.”
Linda Lorelle interviewed Earlie Hudnall, Jr. about the topics of freedom, community and peace in a time of great adversity. Earlie, who photographed Nelson Mandela during his visit to Houston in the early 1990s, provided a unique perspective on Mandela’s long-lasting impact and the threads that binds us all together.
“My intent with photography always is to capture the universality of the human spirit - what we do and how we live day-to-day,” he said. “And the commonality among people is the same wherever you go. We all laugh the same way and we all cry the same way. There’s a common language amongst us and that is the language of compassion.”
The conversation between Linda and Earlie was bookended by poetry written and performed by HISD students - Madison Petaway, Houston's 2020 Youth Poet Laureate, a junior at Westbury High School and Helen Shibru, a junior at Jane Long Academy - telling the struggles of the racial divide in America.
The event also gave a glimpse into the Mandela exhibition housed at Holocaust Museum Houston. Open through Jan. 3, 2021, the exhibition explores the fight for human rights and justice in South Africa during the time of apartheid. Visitors can view the 16-foot-high “wall of laws” based solely on skin color or stand in a replica of the prison cell that Mandela was confined to for 18 of his 27 years in prison.
“His story is a message of hope. To see the replica of his cell and the hard labor he was forced to do - it’s an incredible look into his life,” Trish said. “There’s a lot to be learned from his life’s work that all of us can benefit from today.”
“We are all a part of one beautiful, important, and vital community,” Trish added. “Even through the adversity, I am hopeful. I look at what our world has overcome. We can overcome. We can and we must.”
The event was live streamed on Sept. 21; watch the video on YouTube here.
Holocaust Museum Houston (5401 Caroline, Houston, TX 77004) is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $19 for adults, $15 for seniors, and admission is free for kids and teens under 18. Admission is free to all visitors on Thursdays from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. In light of Covid-19, face masks are required for all visitors ages 10+ and museum capacity is restricted to 50 percent. See more information here.
Editor’s note: For more on Holocaust Museum Houston, read Houston's Holocaust Survivors: And the museum that shares their stories by Russell Weil.
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