While there is alarm over the recent rise of statements and acts of intolerance, including here on Long Island, this trend has been going on for years. It is critical that all people, from our current and newly elected national, state and local leaders, to individuals in their daily lives, speak out forcefully against bias and hate and stand up for equality and pluralism.
Unrest all over the world, massive flows of immigrants, and rapidly changing demographics in our communities have caused unease and fear, all leading to unfortunate consequences. We have seen an uptick in hate-speak, bullying, ugly graffiti, and other acts of intolerance targeting Muslims, Jews, Latinos, Asians, Sikhs, gays and others. A favorite symbol of hate, the swastika, shows up all too frequently in schools and other public buildings.
Each of us as individuals and members of specific communities and organizations has a responsibility to do whatever we can to promote respect among peoples of all races, ethnicities, national origins and faiths. The Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC) utilizes its ability to draw upon history to show what happens when people, institutions and governments do not stand up against hate. HMTC is the leading local resource on Long Island to help us all deal with prejudice and the changing world around us.
HMTC provides educational programs to thousands of youngsters and adults every year on the history and lessons of the Holocaust with particular emphasis on how we should conduct ourselves today. The center staff and volunteers help school leaders develop responses to acts of intolerance in their schools, and recognizes young people who stand up against bullying and hate.
The Thanksgiving and winter holiday season is an appropriate time for us all to rededicate ourselves to the shared values we most cherish. HMTC is there to help and serve the community and to lead the fight against intolerance.
—Submitted by Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County