CANTON – An upcoming SUNY Canton guest speaker helps children escape the horrors he once faced as a childhood slave in Africa.
Anywar Ricky Richard, who is the 2008 Harriett Tubman Committee Freedom Award Winner, will be presenting his tale of overcoming social injustice by escaping from childhood slavery at 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in the Richard W. Miller Campus Center Kingston Theater. This event is sponsored by the SUNY Canton Character Development Committee and the SUNY Canton Spiritual Life Committee. This event is free and open to the public.
Richard and his brother were just 2 of 25,000 Ugandan children abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army and forced into slavery as child soldiers. The 22 year old war is all that most of those children have ever known. All of the children see and do what no child should ever experience.
“Sometimes I fear people forget that slavery is still a problem in modern society,” said William J. Fassinger, Associate Professor of Criminal Investigation and Character Development Committee member. “Anywar Ricky Richard knows first-hand about the political turmoil that is going on right now in the world. He beat the system and overcame the odds.”
Richard has since returned to the war zone and turned his freedom into a lifeline for other child slaves. In 1999, Ricky and his friends started Friends of Orphans, an organization dedicated to empower and reintegrate former child soldiers into the very society torn apart by atrocities the children were forced to commit. They carry out their peace building projects through organizing music, cultural, and sports programs, among other life reclaiming activities.
Fassinger explained that Daniel G. Fay, Professor of Accounting, recommended Richard for this presentation. Fay’s son John, who is works for a foundation investing in emerging markets, had heard Richard speak in Washington D.C.
“He is one of the most riveting speakers he had ever heard,” Fay said. “Mr. Richard’s story epitomizes the worst and best of humankind. Anyone who listens will be deeply moved.”
The Character Development Committee exists, in part, to encourage members of the SUNY Canton community to promote a set of desirable core values including trustworthiness, honesty, responsibility, and sense of caring.
SUNY Canton offers a wide variety of career-driven bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs, as well as three master’s degrees in conjunction with SUNYIT, Utica. Most of SUNY Canton’s new four-year programs are designed so students can take them on-campus, online, or both. SUNY Canton OnLine features more than 100 courses online each semester. The college’s athletic teams belong to the NAIA’s Sunrise Conference, enabling students to compete in their respective sports for four years.
Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.