Elizabeth Gatoranois a lifelong advocate for children and troubled youth. She received
her formal education at Ball State University where she graduated with honors and
earned a B.S. degree in social work. After the war in Rwanda she became actively
involved in promoting racial unity. In 1995 she became a member of the Baha'i Faith.
She now lives in Palatine, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, with her husband and children.
About Me My parents were medical missionaries in Congo and Alaska. I was born in
Nome, Alaska, among Inuit Indians. Though my feet have never touched African soil,
my mother often shared her love for Africa with me. I was raised in a small rural
town in Indiana. Though I was not exposed to much diversity growing up, my parents
instilled with in me a global awareness and appreciation. As a young child, I watched
the movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, which impacted my awareness of
race relations. I hungered to mirror qualities I found in those from other cultures,
especially African Americans. I graduated from Ball State University with honors
with a BS in social work. In 1989, I married my husband, a man from Rwanda. This
appreciation of diversity influenced my decision to become a Bahá’í in 1995.
I believe one of the most crucial issues facing our country is race relations. I
do not believe the civil war in Rwanda in 1994 was a result of genocide. If one looks
closely, the history of colonization reveals a systematic racism that has not just
affected the United States but the larger global community. Racism is so sophisticated
that it affects all people. When I recognize the sacrifices of the African American
freedom fighters, I realize that they were not only fighting for those with darker
skin but for all of us who are unconsciously conditioned to participate in discrimination.
Until we as a society acknowledge that we all are unconsciously conditioned, we cannot
remove the shame of racism and move forward to embrace the oneness of humanity.
My Latest Book “Waiting For The Sunrise”
One Family's Struggle against Genocide and Racism more >>