Message from the Director, Connie Fredericks-Malone
Not long after the terrorist attack in France and Nigeria, a silent candlelight walk for peace was held on Nazareth College campus. We met at Linehan Chapel before the walk to Maison Française. Speakers included Dr. Le Breton, Dr. Carrasco, Dr. Shafiq from Nazareth College and a representative from Rochester City Hall (Rennes-Rochester Sister City Committee). I was asked to speak on behalf of Alliance française de Rochester. My speech is below:
Let me begin by sharing with you that France and Paris in particular has been my second home for many years. It was home to my late sister Carole Fredericks who spent 22 years of her life there and was a beloved icon in French music and culture. Je suis americaine.
Tragedy always has a way of breaking into our everyday awareness of life as we know it. The recent events in Paris shake our confidence and heighten our since of vulnerability. If we take a step back we are aware of the global, historical and international implications of this act of terrorism. No one is safe.
On a more individual level we mourn the loss of journalists, artists, police officers, men and women, and ordinary citizens who got caught up in the tragedy of political madness. Those who died were human beings; French, Jewish, Muslim, black, women and men, old and young.
But as with many tragedies we, humanity, are given an opportunity to learn and grow. At a time when language programs in many American schools are being diminished if not completely eliminated it was most encouraging to hear Secretary of State John Kerry relayed America's collective concern to France in French. I heard from so many of my friends that this simple gesture meant so much to them.
The images of world leaders at the rally on Sunday in Paris revealed to us the necessity for nations to embrace each other, to respect each other and to be more tolerant of our differences. We are not alone on this planet and nations, governments must come together in the cause of mutual support and protection of all of its people.
I watched broadcasters and news programs dissect the lives of the Kouachi brothers and their accomplice. To my surprise many of them asked why and how could this happen. What would cause a young man or young woman to choose violence and ultimately death as the only way to have an impact on the world? When nations, societies address these questions and look honestly at how immigrant populations are treated they will begin to dismantle the wedge extremists use to terrorize.
We have so much to learn about each other, so much to learn from each other and we have so much work to do. By participating in this Candlelight Walk for Peace we demonstrate our commitment to freedom and to working toward improving the conditions and restoring broken relationships that encourage hatred and terrorism.
Je suis CHARLIE,
Barbara Summers 1944 - 2014
Barbara Summers 1944 - 2014
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you that the vibrant light that was Barbara Summers has been dimmed. Barbara passed away unexpectedly in November of 2014.
Barbara was a woman of many talents, a passionate writer, editor, world traveler and educator. She was a former French teacher who became a fashion model then author
of a groundbreaking book about the history and impact of black fashion models in the industry. A generous spirit, Barbara did not hesitate to lend her name to those
efforts she deemed worthy. As Nancy Gadbois and I were putting the finishing touches on the debut collections of lessons to publish Barbara suggested the
title ‘tant qu’elle chante elle vit’ (as long as she sings she lives). That one phrase solidified the goals of the foundation and gave rise to an innovative
approach to learning French. Barbara became one of the original three Incorporating Directors and my go-to person as I made my way through the process of
setting up the Carole Fredericks Foundation. Barbara was a life-long personal friend who’s whit, wisdom and stirring conversations I will miss. Her
brilliance as an author, teacher, mother and friend will live on in all those who were privileged to know her. She left behind a body of work that
speaks to her strength of character, love of life, cultural literacy and heritage. Please read more about Barbara Summers here and view
her collection of books on Amazon.