On November 16, 2020 the second cohort of the Remember Project met virtually for the fourth time. This year's Remember Project cohort is comprised of 20 teens from diverse backgrounds. These 20 teens represent eight local public and private schools in the greater Charleston area. During the meeting, the students came together to learn about the Charleston Holocaust Memorial, the Daffodil Project and the passage of Hate Crime Legislation in South Carolina through the Stamp Out Hate Campaign. Read below as Madelynne Burt, junior at Charleston County School of the Arts, reflects on this experience.
Over several meetings so far this year, the Charleston Remember Project has allowed students like myself to educate ourselves on topics around anti-Semitism and other forms of hate and has provided us with various resources to help us face the issues head-on. In our most recent meeting on Monday, November 16th, we met with three admirable individuals.
Firstly, we spoke with Brandon Fish, who works at the Charleston Jewish Federation. He gave us valuable information on hate crime legislation and the importance of passing it in South Carolina. This state has a long history of hate crime, from starting the American civil war to the recent mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. It is crucial to distinguish hate crimes as a specific problem as they disproportionately change victims’ lives. We spoke about the alarming rise of hate crime since 2016 and how to address it.
Our second guest gave us valuable information about the international Daffodil project. This living Holocaust memorial will eventually be made of 1.5 million daffodils to represent the children who lost their lives in the events during the Holocaust. The project has planted a total of 607,000 daffodils worldwide that continue to act as a reminder to stand up in the face of injustice and hatred. The attached video was created by myself and my peers as our vision for the future in terms of hate crime legislation in SC and was shown at the Together We Heal: Survivors of Hate panel on November 22, 2020.
Our last guest, David Popowski, a Charleston native, born to two Holocaust survivors, told us about his story. His father, he believes, survived because he was a hard-working carpenter with skill, while his mother remained disguised as a Catholic throughout the war. He also told us about working on the downtown Charleston Holocaust Memorial, located in Marion Square. He gave us a brief description of the monument and explained its significance. The four walls were intended to be shaped like a menorah, and the center of the structure is a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl often used in burial.
Being a member of the Charleston Remember Project is a great way for students to obtain valuable information on relevant topics surrounding anti-Semitism and prejudice. It is a great opportunity to work together with other students and local leaders at the Remember Project.
*Madelynne Burt was selected to participate in the second cohort of 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 Remember Project. 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