California Governor creates Council to advance Holocaust education

The aim of the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education is to teach students about the Holocaust and other genocides and provide tools necessary to respond to antisemitism and bigotry on campus.

California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom announced the creation of the Governor’s Council on Holocaust and Genocide Education during a visit to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles on Wednesday, October 6. The Council’s aim is to educate public school students in California about the Holocaust and other genocides and to provide support for victims of antisemitism and bigotry.

The creation of the council was a response to legislation in the California Senate from Senator Henry Stern who introduced the „Never Again Education Act” in the California legislature, which also established a 15-member governor’s council.

According to the official website of Governor Newsom, State Senator Henry Stern, Attorney General Rob Bonta and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will serve as Co-Chairs of the Council. Other members will include academics, advocates and community organisations reflecting the wide diversity of communities impacted by genocide throughout history.

A volunteer speaker’s bureau is also to be established, which would include Holocaust survivors, who can strike up conversation about the topic. It would also provide the necessary tools to combat discriminative acts in schools.

The eradication of discrimination and hate has long been a priority in Governor Newsom’s politics. His Administration successfully secured millions of dollars in this year’s budget to develop resources necessary for Holocaust and genocide education, to sponsor the Holocaust Museum LA, the Tauber Holocaust Library and Archives, and the Museum of Tolerance for a new exhibit focused on anti-Semitism. Another $110 million was allocated to a multi-year grant program  to fund support services for victims and survivors of hate crimes and to facilitate hate crime prevention.