The Importance of Holocaust Education – Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador Tony Zani

Legislative report submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Tony Zani, literacy coach at Rose Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City School District

I’ve really enjoyed that the Utah Legislature has put all of its meetings online. It’s so nice to be able eavesdrop on committee meetings during my lunch break! Even better, the meetings are recorded and you can jump to the part of the meetings that pertain to your interests.

A big frustration I’ve had in past years is taking a day off to go the Capital Hill to try and get a chance to speak about a bill only to have the committee not get to that particular bill. If you haven’t had a chance, I encourage you to look at the legislative calendar and listen in on some of the discussion and debate on bills.

While I was eavesdropping this week, I overheard a discussion on a concurrent resolution on Holocaust education. This was the first I’d heard of this and I was curious. A resolution is not a law, it’s a statement from the legislature. In this case, it’s an encouragement for the State Board of Education and local education agencies to provide Holocaust and genocide education.

When I listened to the discussion of this resolution, I heard concern from legislators about how many people don’t know about details of the Holocaust. Legislators were also concerned that some people deny the Holocaust.

The resolution includes definitions of the Holocaust and genocide and the importance of including it in education. I was very pleased to see that the resolution explains that it is “the responsibility of citizens in democratic societies to combat misinformation, indifference, and discrimination through tools of resistance such as protest, reform, and free and fair elections.”

This resolution passed unanimously. I’m glad the legislature is reaffirming the importance of Holocaust and genocide education. We need societal memory of state-sponsored persecution so we can stop it before it happens again.