JACQUELINE Murekatete, a survivour of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi was honoured for activism by VH1.
Celebrities from TV, movies and music took the stage during the “Do Something Awards.”
Murekatete, 25, a Rwandan native who lives in Brooklyn was one of five young finalists being celebrated for social activism on the show, which aired live from Hollywood on VH1.
“Rwanda was a country that was full of a lot of injustices, particularly against the Tutsis,” Murekatete said. “But at the same time, I was 9, I had my family and my parents always tried to encourage us to pursue our goals.”
Murekatete’s parents and six siblings were among those slaughtered during the Genocide. Her grandmother placed her in an orphanage, where she survived several raids. After discovering that most of her family had been killed, she came to live with an uncle in Virginia at age 10 and moved to Brooklyn a year later.
She started speaking publicly about her trauma at 16, after a Holocaust survivour spoke at her High school class, and she saw similarities to what she went through. She has since traveled around the world speaking to schools about tolerance.
In 2007, Murekatete launched ‘Jacqueline’s Human Rights Corner’, which just completed a community centre in Bugesera district, Rwanda.
The “Do Something Awards” honour activists ages 25 and under for their work is to help others. Stars like Lady Gaga, Salma Hayek, Matt Damon and Tyra Banks were also awarded in special celebrity categories.