Stern Tapped by Governor to Chair Holocaust & Genocide Education Council

October 6, 2021

MUSEUM OF TOLERANCE, LOS ANGELES - Governor Newsom announced today a historic $40 million investment to combat rising anti-Semitism and other acts of hate, with a particular emphasis on the public school system, in light of new evidence showing a lack of knowledge about the Holocaust and other recent genocides among California students.  

To spearhead this initiative, the Governor drew upon Senator Stern’s SB 693 the Never Again Education Act and established the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education naming Senator Henry Stern (D-Los Angeles) as co-chair alongside Attorney General Rob Bonta and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.

“I am grateful to Governor Newsom for his steadfast leadership on this critical issue” began Stern. “As a young Jewish boy in LA, it was the teachers in my life who secured my right to learn in a safe environment. I look forward to the opportunity this council presents to ensure every educator in California has the resources they need to help students comprehend and fight bias in the classroom.”

The Governor’s Council was inspired, in part, by Stern’s Never Again Education Act (SB 693). SB 693 intended to provide teachers with training and resources for teaching content such as genocide within existing curriculum and social science framework.

“As the generation of survivors in many of our families pass on, it is essential we find alternative ways to express the impact of hate and bias to ensure atrocities like the Holocaust, Armenian and Rwandan genocides never happen again,” continued Stern. “Education is a key component of the puzzle to lift up the stories of our community long after they’re gone.”

The Council intends to serve as a state hub to stand up against anti-Semitism and bigotry through education by leveraging existing state efforts in the California Department of Education through the Initiative to End Hate and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Children’s Justice. Additionally, the council intends to do an assessment on the current status of genocide and Holocaust education in the state and provide recommendations on future actions to bolster those efforts.

Governor Newsom has long made the eradication of discrimination and hate a priority. Working with the Jewish Caucus and Legislature, the Newsom Administration successfully secured millions of dollars in this year’s budget to ensure that future generations of Californians never forget the lessons of past genocides, including millions of dollars to develop curriculum resources related to Holocaust and genocide education, for the Holocaust Museum LA, the Tauber Holocaust Library and Archives, and the Museum of Tolerance for a new exhibit focused on anti-Semitism.

On top of those investments, Governor Newsom’s budget allocated $110 million for a multi-year grant program to fund support services for victims and survivors of hate crimes and their families and to facilitate hate crime prevention measures and priorities, including:

• $10 million to fund the Anti-Bias Education Grant Program to prevent and address racism and bias in all California public schools and promote inclusivity

• $5 million to support a peer social media network project for children and youth, with an emphasis on K-12 students who have experienced bullying, or who are at risk of bullying based on race, ethnicity, language, or country of origin, or perception of such

• $10 million to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing to fund grants for hate crime hotlines

• $10 million for the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles to create a new exhibit on anti-Semitism

• $2.5 million for expansion of the Holocaust Museum LA

• $2 million to contract with nonprofits who have subject matter expertise in Holocaust and genocide education to develop curricular resources and provide professional development for teachers

• $1 million for the renovation of the Tauber Holocaust Library and Archives operated by Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center in the Bay Area

Also serving on the Council as members are Assemblymembers Adrin Nazarian, Jose Medina, James Ramos and Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, and Senators Scott Wiener, Connie Leyva, and Susan Rubio. Based on community feedback, the Council will also include academics, advocates and community organizations reflecting the wide diversity of communities impacted by genocide throughout history.