Massachusetts students took their call for genocide education to the Massachusetts State House in Boston on Tuesday. Several students – including MacKenzie Hamilton and Andie Ramirez of Harwich High and Emily Cunningham of Cardinal Spellman (and last year’s Northeast High School Regional Outreach Coordinator) – testified before the Joint Committee on Education. Before testifying, Emily and the members of Harwich STAND lobbied Senator O’Leary of the Committee, and over 30 people joined them at the Committee hearing to show support for the bill.
Check out this excerpt from Emily’s testimony:
The lessons, stories, and common threads among the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Burma, and Sudan should echo from the blackboards and lecterns of every middle and high school across our Commonwealth. If not, for what have these millions upon millions of innocent mothers, fathers, and children died over the past century?
Samantha Power, genocide scholar and advisor to President Obama states
"No US President has ever made genocide prevention a priority, and no US President has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on."
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel tells us that "the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference." I urge you as legislators not to be indifferent to the opportunity to create a place in the curriculum framework for genocide specific education which shows the connection between the past and the atrocities that continue to take place in Congo, Burma, and Darfur today. You have a unique opportunity to breed a generation of political will in Massachusetts that will continue to stand up against human rights abuses everywhere.
And see the full testimonies here.