On October 19, 2020 the second cohort of the Remember Project met virtually for the third 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 from Lauren Granite, US Education Director for Centropa. She led them in several interactive activities to help them get a real life understanding of the site. Then, we discussed how they will bring these resources to their schools and communities. Read below as Megan Dagley, senior at Summerville High School, reflects on this experience.
Monday’s meeting was a perfect representation of the reason I, along with my fellow members, chose to join the Remember Project. I was passionate about joining the cohort because I believe that Holocaust and genocide education and awareness are of the utmost importance. This memorable meeting certainly did not disappoint.
After some socializing and general discussion among the students, we started the meeting on a lesson about the important distinctions between anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Israel attitudes. Afterwards, students could share their personal experiences with these hateful ideologies; it was truly eye-opening in several aspects. It was disturbing to hear that many of the Jewish students in the group had experienced anti-Semitism at some point or another. Furthermore, it was surprising to hear how Jewish and non-Jewish students alike had, for the most part, been directly confronted with anti-Zionist and anti-Israel rhetoric. This discussion reaffirmed my desire to learn more about hate and how to combat it, and luckily for me, we were about to receive an incredible lesson on how to do so.
When the discussion was finished, the US director of education for Centropa, Lauren Granite, joined our meeting. She introduced us to Centropa, a Holocaust-related organization that seeks to tell not just the stories of how Jews died, but how they lived. Perhaps the most interesting part of the meeting was when she showed us their website, full of thousands of biographies, pictures, and interviews with European survivors. There was something so profound about what Centropa had sought to achieve, and to see the culmination of the efforts of thousands of volunteers to make certain that the Holocaust and its victims are never forgotten was a great reminder of why we were all together in this meeting. Lauren guided us through an activity, which entailed looking at photos, reading the stories behind them, and discussing each picture with each other, and she showed us one of the many incredible biographical films available on the website. Then, she explained to us how to integrate Centropa as an education tool in the classroom. As she discussed the various ways to incorporate videos and biographies into several different classes, we were invited to share this resource with our own teachers. This was an opportunity we had all been waiting for: to be able to share educational resources within our own communities.
This meeting was certainly unforgettable, and I am incredibly grateful to have had an opportunity such as this to make a difference in my community. Moreover, I am grateful to be able to work with like-minded students who share a passion for combating hate with education. In the future, I look forward to working with the Cohort to continue to share resources such as Centropa and remain committed to working towards Holocaust education, genocide awareness, and fighting hate in our communities.
*Megan Dagley 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