Students bringing copies of Mein Kampf to school for their classmates to sign like it was a yearbook. White Supremacists trying to recruit. Chants of "build the wall" that torment Latino students. This is just a smattering of what Erin Beacham is dealing with in our current political climate.
As the Regional Director of the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) she works directly with teachers and school districts. She is the Regional Education Project Director which means she is working directly with schools and teachers including all the schools in the Atlanta School District which are signed up to its No Place For Hate educational program.
Hate is the core element that makes genocide possible in the first place. Without it, there is genocide. Consequently, hate came up as a theme several times this week. Combating hate is what these teachers who were in the seminar are all about.
Erin Beacham encouraged the teachers at the Breman Institute to get their students to sign pledges and show them how they can change behavior even at an early age. Prejudice is often learned in the home and she relayed how students in the program had gone home, heard a racial remark, and interceded with their parents.
The ADL has a program that is adaptable for any age. One hand it is sad that programs need to exist at all but encouraging that steps are being taken to head off what may be a repeat of history.