Director Shelly Shapiro of the Holocaust Survivors and Friends Education Center, based in Albany, reports that the organization has joined with 90 institutions and 71 Holocaust scholars and educators who have recently signed a statement of the Association of Holocaust Organizations, a network dedicated to the advancement of Holocaust education, remembrance and research.
The statement is as follows:
Recent months have seen a surge in unabashed racism and hate speech — including blatant anti-Semitism and attacks on Hispanics, Muslims, African-Americans, women, the LGBTQ community, as well as other targeted groups. Journalists have been threatened. Places of worship, schools and playgrounds have been defaced with Nazi symbols intended to intimidate and arouse fear. White supremacist groups have become self-congratulatory and emboldened.
As scholars, educators and institutions, we are alarmed by these trends. History teaches us that intolerance, unchecked, leads to persecution and violence. We denounce racism and the politics of fear that fuels it. We stand in solidarity with all vulnerable groups. We take Elie Wiesel’s words to heart: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.”
Therefore, we call upon all elected officials as well as all civic and religious leaders to forcefully and explicitly condemn the rise in hate speech and any attacks on our democratic principles. We call upon all media and social media platforms to refuse to provide a stage for hate groups and thus normalize their agenda. And we call upon all people of good conscience to be vigilant, to not be afraid, and to speak out.
Shapiro at (518) 783-7800, ext. 235 can provide additional information.