In observance of the International Day of Commemoration, a time of recognition for the victims of the Holocaust, the DPI/NGO presented a briefing about tolerance in the midst of diversity. Ms. Diallo said she hopes this conversation will acknowledge all victims and remind people of the lives lost, as well as constant need to resist racism and violence. Ms. Mann discussed how the past has proven that racism is a learned behavior and can be counteracted. Ms. Kaidanow highlighted the importance of passing on Holocaust stories to preserve history, enabling the future generations to avoid similar mistakes. Ms. Kaidanow also claimed that education is the number one weapon against bigotry and ignorance. Ms. Sommer underlined that there is a rise in anti-Semitism–a sign that the fight against denial, apathy, and indifference is not over. Her approach is to use media to reach out with the educational programs, specifically through the social media slogan, #weremember.
Mr. Michaels revealed his organization’s efforts to bridge the gaps between Jewish and non-Jewish neighbors with the European Day of Jewish Culture. Ms. Mann remarked how the Nazis failed in their attempt to destroy Jewish culture and heritage. Then Mr. Sirois described the intricate pyramid of hate:
- 1st layer: Acts of Bias, Crude Jokes
- 2nd layer: Acts of Prejudice, Bullying and Exclusion
- 3rd layer: Acts of Discrimination
- 4th: Bias-motivated Violence
- 5th: Genocide
Mr. Siois also mentioned that the pyramid will progress if unchecked and stressed the importance of curtailing the 1st and 2nd layers before progression. Mr. Siois ended the meeting with the rhetorical question: Who are we here today, and how will we be remembered tomorrow?
Meeting: DPI/NGO briefing entitled “Diversity and Lessons to be Learned for Human Understanding”
Date/Location: Thursday, January 25, 2018; 11:00-12:30; Conference Room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
Speakers: Ms.Hawa Diallo, Public Information Officer, NGO Relations Section, United Nations Department of Public Information; Ms.Kimberly Mann, Chief of Education Outreach, United Nations Department of Public Information; Ms.Sarah Kaidanow, NGO youth representative, Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center (HHREC); Ms.Evelyn Sommer, Chair, World Jewish Congress North America; Mr.David.J Michaels, Director of United Nations and Intercommunal Affairs, B’nai B’irth International; Mr.Jason Sirois, Director of No Place for Hate, Anti-Defamation League
Written By: WIT Representative Nicole Matsanov