Martin Luther King, III to Keynote Unveiling and Dedication of Memorial Wall Honoring 305 Children of Jonestown, Guyana

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On Nov. 18, 1978 the world as we knew it was changed forever. 918 victims, of whom 305 were children—including 40 infants—lost their lives along with U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and a United Press International film crew. The place was Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana—that Paradise of Pain˗˗˗founded and led by James Warren "Jim" Jones, forever rendered infamous by its name “Jonestown.”

Nine of 350 Children Who Perished in Jonestown, Guyana

I want to join your many supporters in commending your efforts to erect the Jonestown Memorial Wall in honor of the innocent victims of Jonestown.

To keynote the 2018 Jonestown memorial, Martin Luther King, III will join Dr. Jynona Norwood—founder of Jonestown Memorial Wall and Services—along with victims’ family representatives, concerned citizens and community, civic, academia, and ministerial leaders to remember the 918 victims, giving special recognition to the 305 children (including 40 infants) who were slaughtered in—that Paradise of Pain, founded and led by James Warren "Jim" Jones, forever rendered infamous by its name "Jonestown." The special event, titled “Beauty for Ashes: The Jonestown Memorial,” will incorporate the unveiling of the “Cherishing the Children Memorial Wall" in honor of the young people during the 40th annual Jonestown observance. The memorial wall dedicatory will commence at 11:00 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 18th at Evergreen Cemetery, 6450 Camden Ave., Oakland, CA.

Dr. E. Faye Williams, national president and CEO of the National Congress of Black Women (appointed by President Barack Obama's Presidential Scholars Commission), Rev. Ed Norwood, who was kidnapped/rescued by his mother to save him from going to Jonestown, Oscar C. Wright, former president of the Emeryville, Calif, NAACP chapter and community activist, will also address the audience.

Dr. Norwood lost family members in Jonestown who included the youngest victim and 27 other loved ones.

“President Bill Clinton shared words of comfort and encouragement with the families years ago that have continued to inspire us,” said Dr. Norwood. The president commented, “My prayers are with everyone gathered. I know that your service will be an inspiring memorial to those who lost their lives so senselessly at Jonestown.”

As U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi so eloquently stated in her letter, “The ‘Cherishing the Children Memorial Wall’ will provide a place of comfort and solace to the children’s relatives and loved ones as well as to those who wish to honor the memory of Congressman Leo Ryan and all those who lost their lives."

Over the many years of observing the Jonestown catastrophe, other dignitaries have commented:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee: “Thank you for all of the work you are doing to create this Memorial.”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters: “I want to join your many supporters in commending your efforts to erect the Jonestown Memorial Wall in honor of the innocent victims of Jonestown.”

“Their memories have left an indelible footprint in our nation’s history. Our innocent children, their families, and Congressman Leo Ryan and his film crew shall not be forgotten,” Dr. Norwood exclaimed.

In 1979, Dr. Jynona Norwood established the Jonestown Memorial Wall and Services organization to remember and honor the Jonestown victims. This organization is not affiliated with the group responsible for honoring Jim Jones on the innocent children's mass grave sites. The organization and its dedicated members have chosen to commemorate their legacy remembering their final resting place as revered and sacred. We respond to their sacrilegious act by building a portable memorial."

The organization and its body of volunteers have persevered and been unyielding in their passion to raise public awareness and deeply inspired truth behind these horrific acts of homicide that never should have occurred.

The Cherishing the Children Memorial Committee intends to make the healing memorial wall a lasting reminder so that these men, women, and children have not perished in vain."

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