Speakers Provide Messages of Tolerance and Courage

Speakers Provide Pic 1
High School East social studies students learned about hope, tolerance and courage during Holocaust Remembrance and Genocide Awareness Day on April 5.

Holocaust survivor and Smithtown resident Werner Reich was the guest speaker to classes in the morning session. Reich spoke about his time in concentration camps, using his oppressive experience to teach the students how to take action in a situation.

In the afternoon, author and Rwandan genocide survivor Joseph Sebarenzi spoke to students about how his parents, seven siblings and countless family members were among the 800,000 Tutsi murdered over the course of 90 days in 1994 in Rwanda. Sebarenzi’s book “God Sleeps in Rwanda” recalls his survival but also provides insight about conflict prevention and reconciliation.

During classroom activities, students watched films such as “The Killing Fields” on Cambodian genocide, “Hotel Rwanda” on the Rwandan genocide and “Devil Came on Horseback” about the genocide in Darfur. Students also wrote a reaction essay on how they could choose an escape route if they were in Syria during its conflict.