Institute for the Study and Prevention of Hate Crimes via Crowdrise
July 31, 2010
Please help us expand this program and bring it to schools across the USA.
PREVENT HATE’s Genocide Survivors & At-Risk Youth program provides role models to southern California schools by bringing survivors of genocide and severe crimes against humanity to share their personal stories with students and directly engage them about the destructive nature of violence and hatred, and work to inspire them not to succumb to a violent environment, but rather, to seek their own pathways towards a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle.
Prevent Hate was recently contacted by a teacher because one of her students had been showing gruesome, violent videos by Al Qaeda and Mexican drug cartels to other students by bypassing the school's firewall for their computers. The teacher worried that some of the students were becoming desensitized to violence which may result in increased violence at school. Our Kurdish genocide survivor from northern Iraq spoke to the students of the atrocities he witnessed and suffered (including having all his childhood friends murdered by the Iraqi regime). He talked about the devastating effects it had on him, his family and many others from his region. And instead of becoming hateful, angry or violent himself, he chose to channel his frustrations into his artwork, thereby providing himself with a productive outlet for his feelings and became a very successful artist. At the end of the program, the student who bypassed the school's firewall to pull up the violent videos told us that it really put things into perspective for him.
Another one of our speakers, a Holocaust survivor from Auschwitz who later became a very successful businesswoman in the garment industry, spoke to another high school about her story. The school asked her to come back the following year. When she did so, a young male student approached her and told her that he had been a skinhead, but that after he heard her story the previous year, he threw away all the propaganda and redirected his life away from neo-Nazism.
We need to expand this program so that we can bring our guest speakers regularly to schools all over the USA to continue engaging students to help eliminate violence in our schools.
This program is not only good for the students, it also provides healing for the speakers when they see that their suffering may be turned into something beautiful and meaningful.