Two years ago, Paul Clay-Rooks visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for the first time. He was so moved by the exhibit that he has kept the postcard he bought during his visit in the front of his journal ever since. The postcard carries the inscribed message:
Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children, and your children’s children.
Paul took this message to heart and lived these words when he learned about the situation in Congo from a New York Times article. He decided to begin raising both awareness about the rampant sexual violence in Congo and funds for the City of Joy program in Bukavu, Congo. City of Joy gives survivors of sexual violence a safe place to live while providing them an education, counseling, and vocational and leadership training.
Paul began his campaign by walking two-hundred miles in eight days from his hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia, to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, over his Spring Break. Paul chose the Lincoln Memorial as his destination because he says it “is a place in our national memory that symbolizes our ability to effect moral change.”
Paul has raised $3,000 and the checks continue to arrive. In many cases the contributions are accompanied by encouraging cards and messages that Paul says have “helped remind me of the power of the human spirit.” Paul will continue to fight for the women in Congo, searching for new and powerful ways to help bring an end to the tragic sexual violence taking place.