On March 16 and March 30 students from across the Low Country gathered virtually to write a proclomation to be read at City Council Meetings to mandate Holocaust education in the Lowcountry. During the meeting students worked together to write and revise their proclomation as well as ask insightful questions of Anita Zucker, who has long been an advocate for Holocaust education. Becca White, student at Porter Gaud, shared her reflections on this meaningful experience.
The Remember Project cohort is comprised of driven Charleston teenagers who study the Holocaust and educate others on its historical significance. The group understands that it is their responsibility to talk to Holocaust survivors about their experiences because they are the last generation that has the opportunity to hear from them in person. This makes it even more crucial for their stories to be shared and spread throughout the community so that they are not lost to time. History, no matter how devastating, cannot be forgotten.
The Remember Project strives to ensure that history does not repeat itself. Over the past 6 months, the group has talked with members of the community who have similar goals to always remember the Holocaust. In February 2020, during a meet and greet event at Black Magic Cafe, the group spoke to children and grandchildren of survivors, as well as survivors themselves. They all convened to learn and ask questions about each survivor's personal stories through a first-hand experience. These conversations were not only extremely moving in the moment, but they will have an even deeper impact going forward. By having these difficult discussions and gaining as many perspectives as possible, the Remember Project can carry out its goal to educate other people in the community to prevent this persecution from ever occurring again.
Before the effects of COVID-19, the group planned to write a proclamation demanding Holocaust education in all schools across several counties in the greater Charleston area. After many discussions about their own beliefs and moral obligations to remember the Holocaust, the teens were shocked to hear that such an important topic was not already required to be taught, and they felt motivated to act as soon as possible. With everything on hold during these unprecedented times, the group met via Zoom to begin their draft. They were split into groups, each working on a separate section of the proclamation. This document included a detailed list of explanations for this mandate. It expressed the terrifying statistics of the Holocaust as well as many details outlining the events. The document then explains how the world is beginning to forget, and a shocking number of people do not know enough about the Holocaust. The proclamation concludes with the idea that in order for everyone to remember, the Holocaust must be taught from a young age.
A couple of weeks later on March 30th, Anita Zucker joined the group call for an editing session. Anita is not only a child of a survivor, but also an advocate for Holocaust education. She provided helpful insights to guide the group of teenagers so that their voices could be heard in an effective way. With a finished draft of their proclamation, the group is waiting for daily life to return to a new normal so that their proclamation can be read aloud at a city council meeting.
On May 4th the Remember Project will virtually attend a Words to Action training session with the Anti-Defamation League. The group is excited to learn from this powerful organization and take the lessons with them to educate others. If you are a teen interested in joining this call please reach out to Samantha Krantz (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*Becca White was selected to participate in the Remember Project. High school students have a rare and unique opportunity to study the Holocaust and other genocides by becoming an ambassador in their school and community through the 2019-2020 Remember For high school students looking for a meaningful and profound community service experience, this cohort is an excellent option with monthly meetings to ensure this next generation is committed to ‘Always remembering’. For more information on the Remember Program visit https://www.jewishcharleston.org/remember