Feb 10

Calling All Fellow Vermonters!

Dear Fellow Vermonters,

          Recently in my eighth grade social studies class we had the privilege of meeting via zoom Ms.Miriam Rosenbloom as a guest speaker. She is a second generation Holocaust survivor dedicated to sharing her family’s personal stories. I listened intently to her every word as she described the atrocities and the most unthinkable evil acts inflicted on the Jewish community during the time of the Holocaust in a personal perspective I had never witnessed until that moment. Listening and being a part of this opportunity was life changing for me. I will forever carry these individualized stories she shared in my heart and soul. 

          Next, lets fast forward to a project that we were just given in class. To complete this project were tasked with making a PSA ( Public Service Announcement). This PSA needed to be something we were passionate about so that we could further educate our community members as to spread awareness and call them to action. My project partner and I decided to base our project off of Holocaust education. We had acually just finished our Holocaust unit in school and we wanted to make certain that other people got to experience the same powerful and impactful learning as us. In researching more about Holocaust education we found out that only 16 of the 50 states in the US require Holocaust history to be taught at public schools. To my great surprise Vermont is not one of them. With that information our PSA had been decided. It is now called, “Help Us, Join The Fight To Make Holocaust Education Required In All Vermont Public Secondary Schools.” My class partner and I are passionate about making this change because we want every Vermont student to have access to this information and the important moral/life lessons it presents. 

Here are a few facts for you:

1.  Around 6 Million Jews died during the Holocaust but according to a survey done by the Pew research center most adults only think it to be 1 million.

2.  According to the same survey done by the Pew research center in 2018, 22% of millennials and 11% of all American adults have never heard of the Holocaust. By looking at the 2019 population statistics you could see that there were 72.1 million  millennials in 2019. 22% of that is equal to 15,862,000 people who are unaware of the Holocaust. That not even counting other American adults. 

3. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) released an article in which they stated reasons why it's important to teach about the Holocaust. Here are a few:

- “Demonstrates the dangers of prejudice, discrimination and dehumanization, be it the antisemitism that fueled the Holocaust or other forms of racism and intolerance.”

- “Teaches about human possibilities in extreme and desperate situations, by considering the actions of perpetrators and victims as well as other people who, due to various motivations, may tolerate, ignore or act against hatred and violence. This can develop an awareness not only of how hate and violence take hold but also of the power of resistance, resilience and solidarity in local, national, and global contexts.”

For more great reasons why to teach about the Holocaust please visit the Unesco article: https://en.unesco.org/news/importance-teaching-and-learning-about-holocaust
4. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has resources for classrooms and individuals to use but many people are unaware of this. Who can use a resource they know nothing about? Also there are many people who just don’t have the resources to gain access to this information at all. 

Thank you for your time. Please consider signing my online petition I have attached so we as humans can enact a positive change for the future.
“ Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." -Winston Churchill

All my best to you,
Whitney Dykstra 

Please contact me with any question: [email protected] 
The online petition link: https://form.jotform.com/210383716228050