The violent antisemitic and racist hatred seen in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month combined Nazi ideology with white supremacy and drew from the dark historical legacies of the Holocaust and slavery. This hatred revealed the fissures of a long-standing American cultural and identity crisis that requires long-term strategies to provide safe ways to explore identity and difference.
USC Shoah Foundation - The Institute for Visual History and Education announces the Stronger Than Hate
initiative to support educators by providing them with tools and training to responsibly engage their students now and into the future.
"We have to start younger and support our teachers who are often the most influential adults in our children's lives," said USC Shoah Foundation Executive Director Stephen Smith.
The Stronger Than Hate
initiative will draw on the 55,000 testimonies of survivors and witnesses to genocide in the Institute's Visual History Archive, who provide ample warning of the link between ideological group hatred and genocidal violence.
USC Shoah Foundation's research-based, evaluated educational programs developed for students, teachers and policy makers, enable them to sift through the heated rhetoric and better understand what happened in Charlottesville, what it represents more broadly, why violence born from hate continues to recur, and more importantly, how to counter acts of hatred in the future.
Smith noted that a teacher of the man accused of killing a woman in Charlottesville when he drove his car into a crowd has said that the young man showed an interest in Nazis and white supremacy, but the teacher lacked the tools to be able to deal with his student's fascination with evil.
"Stronger than Hate
will provide such tools and direct support, giving educators safe and effective pathways to engage all the many diverse groups we see in classrooms today in respectful dialogue and learning," Smith said. The Institute will create a new landing page on its homepage (sfi.usc.edu) that will provide easily discoverable connections to currently available Institute programs to counter hate so users can choose a topic that is relevant to the area.
Over the coming school year, Stronger than Hate
will place USC Shoah Foundation in the vanguard of forces working to create a climate of inclusivity and respect across the nation. Educators in middle and high school can start now by implementing readily accessible multimedia lessons from the Institute's learning platform, IWitness here: iwitness.usc.edu/respect. Hundreds of resources are available for every level of teaching and new resources, teacher training, and outreach activities will follow throughout the school year.
Stronger Than Hate
takes its name from Roman Kent, a Holocaust survivor and USC Shoah Foundation board member, whose life experience taught him the power of those words.
"To remember is not enough," Kent said. "We must all teach our children tolerance and understanding, both at home and at school. We all must make it clear that hate is never right and love is never wrong."