Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, is observed every April around the world. On this day, we remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the Jewish resistance that accompanied and followed these events. Today, we sit with the pain, suffering, and multigenerational trauma sustained by the six million victims and their families.
On Monday, March 29th, a Filipino woman was brutally attacked in New York City while bystanders, including security guards, looked on without intervening. On Tuesday, March 16th, six Asian Pacific Islander (API) women lost their lives in three consecutive shootings in the Atlanta area. Weeks earlier around Lunar New Year, a wave of xenophobic violence swept the San Francisco Bay Area, metro New York and other US cities where numerous API people were attacked and some lost their life.
As we observe Holocaust Remembrance Day this year, we find much reason to pause, mourn, and reflect. As the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol revealed, we are living amidst a climate of hate in this country that seems to grow more visible and pervasive with each passing day. During the invasion of the Capitol, we saw demonstrators present a whole array of white supremacist symbols ranging from Confederate flags to signs displaying hateful, racist language. Though much of the discussion that has followed the insurrection has explored the racism on display that day, it is also crucial that we examine the virulent antisemitism that was also present and that is fueled by the same white nationalist ideas.
Topics: Holocaust and Human Behaviour
As we pass Inauguration Day, Americans are sitting with a great many feelings. Some may be moving forward with a sense of disappointment and uncertainty while others are basking in the sense of possibility that new beginnings provide. Irrespective of where we lie on this continuum, the events of the last year have revealed to all of us that our democracy is highly fragile and continued civic engagement is required to strengthen its functioning. But in order to move forward, we must be prepared to look backward and plumb the lessons of the past.
Topics: Reading List
As we approach Inauguration Day on Wednesday, January 20th, we lie at the crossroads of progress and regress; of inclusive representative democracy and mob rule. With so much fear and uncertainty in the air, it is easy to forget the fact that we approach a significant national milestone this week.
The public health crisis posed by the COVID-19 outbreak has many schools rapidly shifting to online and distance learning. In these schools, educators are navigating new technologies and ways of teaching during an immensely challenging and uncertain time in our communities, when students’ (and teachers’ own) social-emotional needs are just as critical as academic goals. The resources below are designed to help teachers approach online learning with a focus on sustaining community, supporting students, and creating engaging, meaningful learning experiences.
Topics: Online Learning
Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that Holocaust education is lacking among younger generations. Some can't even identify what Auschwitz was. At Facing History, we've always known there is more to remembering the past than just reciting names and dates. There is an essential need to connect those details to the complex context in which they existed. The Holocaust did not just happen. Nor did other genocides before or after. Instead, they were built upon the steady unrest, hatred, and propaganda that culminated in the tragic loss of human lives. All were based on trivial characteristics deemed unworthy by a society.
Topics: Roger Brooks
Yesterday we watched as thousands of students across the nation banded together in solidarity one month after the Parkland, Florida school shooting that left 17 dead. As part of National Walkout Day, they flooded the streets with messages for elected officials: enough is enough. Something needs to change.
Topics: current events
"What does it mean to be American?" is a timely question amidst the immigration debate but it's also one the United States has been struggling with for years. In 2014, New York Times reporter Damien Cave traveled the length of highway I-35, which runs south to north through the middle of the United States, for his “The Way North” project. Along the way, he asked 35 people this question. In 1997, the PBS documentary, A More Perfect Union, addressed the same issue. The complexity of these answers over time still resonates today.
Sonari Glinton is a journalist who read Night as a young boy and went on to study with Elie Wiesel when he was a student at Boston University. In a 2016 essay written right after Wiesel's death, Glinton describes how he was first drawn to Night simply because it looked like a quick read for a book report he’d been assigned to write. He was surprised to discover that he identified with its protagonist, even though, as a black boy growing up in Chicago, he and Eliezer would seem to have little in common. Still, Glinton saw himself in Eliezer’s love of books and theology and his status as part of an out-group in his society. Eliezer’s sense of fragility and vulnerability felt familiar.
Topics: Race and Membership