Good Morning, I’m Governor Kate Brown.
I am proud to join you all today to sign Oregon’s Holocaust Education Bill. I want to start by thanking the Oregon Jewish Museum for hosting us, the Survivors Speaking Bureau for sharing their stories, and all of you for being here.
And thank you to the legislators who championed this bill, particularly Senator Wagner, Senator Manning Jr., Senator Heard and Representative Sollman.
Before we begin, please join me in taking a moment to pause and remember all the lives lost to genocide around the world.
They are the worst atrocities humanity can bring to bear.
We must remember these moments, and honor the countless lives lost so we can ensure tragedies like this never happen again.
We can start by empowering people with knowledge, and I am proud Oregon can lead on this issue.
Senate Bill 664 mandates our schools to teach Oregon’s students about these scars of history, so that each generation can prevent such actions from ever happening again.
Everyone here today has, in some way, advocated, fought, and persisted on this issue.
You are not alone; a young 4th grader was motivated to take action too.
Thank you, Claire, for your remarkable advocacy.
You remind us all that one person can make a whole lotta difference.
Claire’s advocacy grew from her friendship with Alter Weiner, a Holocaust survivor that spoke to her fourth grade class about his experience at Auschwitz.
It was Alter’s lifelong dream to bring a curriculum to Oregon’s schools that would teach our students about the Holocaust, appreciate the survivors’ stories, and teach our students to take actions that would ensure an event like the Holocaust could never happen again.
Claire helped make that dream a reality when she reached out to her state senator.
I admire that our system here in Oregon worked in such a way that Claire was able to pick up the phone and call Senator Wagner; that he listened; and that together, they could work on this important legislation.
Because, knowledge is power.
Today — more than ever— we need the learning opportunities a bill like this will bring to our schools.
Just a few months ago, I stood shoulder to shoulder with members of our Jewish community as we mourned the lives lost from the Tree of Life synagogue shooting. Together we called for an end to the hatred, and for an end to bigotry.
There is a growing culture of hate and discrimination in America right now. We must stomp it out.
Nobody should ever feel afraid to attend their places of worship, or fear stepping outside because of who they love, how they identify, or the color of their skin.
Learning about the Holocaust and genocide will give our young ones the tools they need to not only identify these threats, but also have the knowledge to fight back in the face of hate.
Alter is unfortunately not here with us today, but I am certain he would be grateful to know that from his suffering, we have grown good. That in sharing his experience, we will hopefully bring change.
Today we take a step forward in making sure that the atrocities of the Holocaust are never forgotten, and never ignored.
Now let’s sign this bill!