Senator Henry Stern Applauds the Governor’s Appointments

Senator Stern’s Statement on the Governor’s Appointments to the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education

October 31, 2022

Sacramento, CA – Governor Newsom announced appointments to the Governor’s Council on
Holocaust and Genocide Education (Council). The Council was created when evidence showing
a lack of knowledge about the Holocaust and other recent genocides among California students
came to light. The Council will focus on education about the Holocaust and genocides with a
particular emphasis on the public school system.

“I look forward to working with all of the new Governor's appointees. As Co-Chair of this
Council, and as the author of the legislation that prompted this push to revitalize teaching about
the Holocaust and genocides in our public schools, this is precisely the collection of thinkers and
organizations we envisioned on the Council. I applaud Governor Newsom for not just
condemning Anti-Semitism when it’s broadcast across our freeways and social media channels,
but for responding with substantive lasting solutions and the funds to realize them. It’s time for
all of us to realize that the Holocaust isn’t some stale distant European tragedy, but a warning of
what happens when democracies decline into scapegoating the other. Whether you’re a
Californian who’s family fled the death squads of El Salvador, the killing fields of Cambodia, or
the gas chambers of Auschwitz, students and teachers across our state share a common bond
of resilience in the face of trauma. Now is the moment we must take an honest look at whether
our public schools are helping the next generation understand what happens when politicians
use economic crises, ethnic and identity-based hatred, and clever coordinated mass
communication to achieve monstrous results.”

“I am grateful to Governor Newsom for his steadfast leadership on this critical issue” Stern
continued. “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 that
every educator in California has the resources they need to help students comprehend and fight
bias in the classroom.”

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 for future actions
to bolster those efforts.

“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,” said Stern. “Education is a key component of the
puzzle to lift up the stories of our community long after they’re gone.”