NEW YORK, April 24, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the independent U.S. national organization among Anne Frank organizations worldwide, has obtained commitments from 26 state legislators across 20 states, including Republicans and Democrats, to introduce legislation that would require education in public schools on the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide and other genocides.
Those 20 states are among the shocking 42 U.S. states that do not already require education on genocide awareness and prevention. The 20 states are the initial states in the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect's ambitious new program, the 50 State Genocide Education Project, to mandate genocide education in public schools across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is announcing the 20 states today, Monday, April 24, 2017, a rare day in history on which Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, overlap.
Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is asking state legislators to sign onto a communique in which they pledge to introduce legislation that would require genocide education, or in some cases to strengthen a state's existing requirement through a commission or task force to keep genocide comprehensive and up-to-date. The 26 state legislators across the initial 20 states have signed on to the communique.
Currently, three states, Florida, Illinois and New Jersey, require genocide education from grades K-12, and have a state commission or task force to keep genocide education comprehensive and up-to-date.
Two states, California and Michigan, require genocide education from grades 7 or 8 through 12, and have a state commission or task force.
Three states, Indiana, New York and Rhode Island, require genocide education from grades 7 or 8 through 12, but do not have a commission or task force.
Louisiana Representative Beryl Amedee (R) and Massachusetts Representative Jeffrey Roy (D) are among the 26 legislators across the 20 states announced today.
Representative Amedee in Louisiana said: "I have had the opportunity to visit Holocaust museums in New York and Washington, DC. During one visit, I overheard a student ask one of her classmates, 'Why should I care if all these people were killed before I was even born?' Her question stunned me! At that moment, choking back tears, I made a commitment in my heart to do what I can to be sure future generations learn about our collective history."
Representative Roy in Massachusetts, who has proposed legislation on genocide education, said: "Our goal is to teach that genocide is not just somebody else's story. Genocide is not simply about killing people, but also about destroying humanity. By including genocide in the curriculum, we will give students a better understanding of the human condition, and increase efforts worldwide for preventing further genocides."
Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, said: "America has a blot on its national conscience when only eight states require Holocaust and other genocide education with any clear requirement and specificity. Our organization begins with initiatives in 20 more states today, but let's be clear: Never Again means required genocide education in public schools across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We won't stop until that happens."
Here are the 26 legislators across 20 states who have made commitments through the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect's communique to introduce new legislation mandating genocide education:
Alaska Representative Justin Parrish (D), Vice Chair, House Committee on Education
Arkansas Representative Michael John Gray (D), House Minority Leader
Connecticut Senator Toni Boucher (R), Co-Chair, Committee on Education
Connecticut Senator Beth Bye (D), Vice Chair, Committee on Education
Colorado Representative Brittany Pettersen (D), Majority Deputy Whip and Chair, Committee on Education
Delaware Representative Jeff Spiegelman (R), primary sponsor of Holocaust Remembrance Day
Delaware Representative Debra Heffernan (D), Vice Chair, House Committee on Health and Human Development
Georgia Representative Tom Taylor (R), House Committee on Governmental Affairs
Georgia Representative David Clark (R), House Committee on Defense and Veterans Affairs
Hawaii Senator Will Espero (D), Senate Committee on Education
Idaho Representative Hy Kloc (D), House Education Committee
Idaho Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb (D), Assistant Minority Leader and member, Senate Committee on Education
Kansas Representative Bill Sutton (R), Vice Chair, Committee on Education Budget
Kentucky Representative Mary Lou Marzian (D), Committee on Education
Louisiana Representative Beryl Amedee (R), House Committee on Education
Maryland Senator Roger Manno (D), Senator Majority Whip
Maryland Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D), Chair, House Committee on Public Health and Minority Health Disparities
Massachusetts Representative Jeffrey Roy (D), Vice Chair, Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
Missouri Representative Shamed Dogan (R), Vice Chair, House Committee on Rules-Legislative Oversight
Nebraska Senator Rick Kolowski (D), Vice Chair, Committee on Education
New York Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D), President of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Jewish Legislators
New York Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D), Committee on Higher Education
Ohio Representative Teresa Fedor (D), House Committee on Education and Career Readiness
South Carolina Representative Robert Brown (D), Second Vice Chair, House Education & Public Works Committee
Virginia Delegate Eileen Filler Corn (D), first Jewish woman elected in Virginia history
Washington Representative Tana Senn (D), Vice Chair, House Committee on Early Learning and Human Services
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SOURCE Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect