Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

L'Shana Tova from the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida

 

Jeff Miller

The Holocaust Center has a long history of cooperating, coordinating and collaborating with a diverse group of cultural, civic and religious organizations in order expand the reach of our mission and vision of embracing a diverse community where everyone feels respected and safe.

In 2006 we partnered with the WellsBuilt Museum of African American History to develop a unique exhibit titled, "Embracing the Dream" that honored Central Florida men and women involved in local civil rights activities. The exhibit tells the story of activities leading up to integration in the 1960's, and traces the impact of the heroism and sacrifice of individuals from both the Jewish and Black communities who knew that segregation must end. The exhibit was recently on display in Orlando's City Hall during the city's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and will continue to travel to different venues throughout the fall.

In 2007 the Holocaust Center used the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibit, "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals", as the cornerstone of our award-winning collaborative partnership with the Orlando Gay Chorus, Empty Spaces Theater and Gay Days. This partnership allowed our Center to highlight another group that was brutally targeted by the Nazis. Under Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code, male homosexuality was illegal. The Nazis arrested an estimated 100,000 homosexual men, 50,000 of whom were imprisoned. Between 5,000 and 15,000 gay men were interned in concentration camps in Nazi Germany. These prisoners were marked by pink triangle badges and, according to many survivor accounts, were among the most abused groups in the camps.

Two years ago when we decided to develop a community-wide commemoration for the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, we successfully partnered with a remarkable group of arts and cultural organizations to host a series of events to educate the community about the historical importance of and the lessons to be learned from Kristallnacht. The overarching goal of the partnership was to start a dialogue about building a more respectful and engaged Central Florida community – where diversity is celebrated and bystanders are encouraged and inspired to become UpStanders.

And now, once again the Holocaust Center is at the forefront of a community-wide partnership to celebrate and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with the underlying goals of education and action. In April over 50 religious, civic, arts and cultural organizations responded to our invitation to attend a collaborative design session at Valencia College that was hosted by VC's Peace and Justice Initiative. While the last 50 years have brought some remarkable changes, we acknowledged that there are still divisions of race, religion, culture and status that must be addressed. We asked those in attendance to work together to plan, present and support programming around this important anniversary.

Pam Kancher

Collaborative partnerships have become an important building block for our Holocaust Center's cultural and educational programs. They allow us to expand our reach by exposing more people in our community to the history and lessons of the Holocaust and its relevance for today. Your investment in our Holocaust Center enables us to be an important voice in building a more respectful and accepting community that is free of all forms of prejudice and bigotry.

On behalf of the Center's board of directors and staff, we want to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and peace-filled New Year.

Jeffrey Miller

President

Pam Kancher

Executive Director

 

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