Senator Henry Stern’s ‘Never Again Education Act’

The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle      June 11, 2021

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Senator Henry Stern’s ‘Never Again Education Act’
Moving beyond remembrance to action is one of the goals of Senator Henry Stern’s (D-Los Angeles) SB 693, the Never Again Education of 2021. It cleared the full Senate on a bi-partisan 39-0 vote on June 1, and will be heard in an Assembly policy committee later this month or in July. “Holocaust genocide education isn’t just a lesson in history class or an issue only affecting people who are Jewish; it should be a bulwark against rising anti-Semitism for all California students,” said Stern. “Hate has a history. Building action-oriented Holocaust and genocide education will give teachers and students the tools to uproot hate when it rears its head in schools across California, so it doesn’t fester and erupt as violence on our streets.” SB 693 would help address the growing knowledge gap among young Americans about the Holocaust and other recent genocides by offering new teaching methods and enhanced resources for teachers and students, to remedy a recent rise in anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, and other acts of hatred. The bill establishes the Governor’s Council on Genocide and Holocaust Education. It would assemble leading experts on teaching about genocide, and the Holocaust in particular, to help students confront this complex subject matter and embrace the importance of diversity, human rights, and the roles and responsibilities of citizens in democratic societies to combat misinformation, indifference, and discrimination. “As our collective memory fades and we lose the last generation of survivors, we must redouble our commitment to educate the next generation and refuse to slip into the same apathy and ignorance that allows hatred to take root,” continued Stern. The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) most recent Audit of Antisemitic Incidents in the United States recorded more than 2,100 acts of assault, vandalism, harassment and murder targeting Jewish Americans, the highest level of antisemitic violence ever recorded by ADL. A nationwide survey last year of millennial and Generation Z Americans, showed a “worrying lack of basic Holocaust knowledge.” The survey found 63% of people asked did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and 66% of milennials could not identify the significance of Auschwitz. ADL regional director, Nancy Appel said “Echoes & Reflections, a partnership among Yad Vashem, ADL, and the USC Shoah Foundation to develop Holocaust curricula, released a survey in 2020 showing that high school students who studied the Holocaust have more pluralistic attitudes; are more willing to challenge intolerant behavior in others; and have a greater sense of social responsibility and civic efficacy.” “The Holocaust was the watershed event of the 20th century, yet, as the memory of its obscenity fades together with the courageous survivors, the ignorance of so many citizens and young people of its horrors is astounding,” noted Rabbi Meyer May of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “This failing can only be addressed by a systemic approach to Holocaust education as called for by SB 693.” At a recent virtual press conference, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond—one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “Our students are victims of a broken society; every day we encounter more heartbreaking examples of anti-Semitism, bullying, and violence. Education has the power to help us grow, understand, and find a pathway to healing.”
The Canyon Chronicle

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