HOUSTON, TX (July 27, 2009) – For the second consecutive year, Holocaust Museum Houston, one of Houston’s foremost institutions promoting cultural awareness and combating hatred, has been honored as a “Community of Respect™” by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Southwest Region.
The designation was awarded to the Museum based on its commitment to a “Resolution of Respect” that pledges the Museum will combat prejudice and will work to stop those who, because of hate or ignorance, would cause harm to or violate the civil rights of any individual. The Museum also was cited for completing three activities that empowered participants to promote respect for individual and group differences while challenging prejudice and bigotry.
The honor was presented by Scott Atlas, chairman of the board of ADL’s Southwest Region, during a meeting of the Museum’s Board of Directors on Friday, July 24.
“It is extremely gratifying to present a Community of Respect™ designation for the second straight year to Holocaust Museum Houston,” said Atlas. “Its employees, volunteers and lay leaders are so dedicated to promoting respect and fighting hatred that the Museum could almost earn its designation just by opening its doors every day. But what the Museum has done to earn its designation is impressive. This includes working with legislators and others to create a Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission and collaborating with Texas Southern University on a course exploring the role of Blacks as victims in the Holocaust. We are proud to award a Community of Respect™ designation to one of ADL’s true partners in the fight against prejudice and hate.”
Among activities cited by the ADL in presenting the honor was “The Art and Power of Political Cartoons,” a workshop attended by 32 teachers and featuring former Houston Chronicle editorial cartoonist Clyde Peterson, known widely as C.P. Houston. In addition to learning how influential political cartoons can be, educators also took time to discuss the issue of stereotypes with Peterson and how they can create enmity between society and an “other” group of people.
A second activity that counted toward the designation began in January, with the opening of the Texas Legislature. Throughout the 81st regular legislative session, the Museum worked with legislators and other groups to create an unpaid, 18-member commission to help ensure that educators in Texas have the guidance and resources necessary to teach children the lessons of the Holocaust and other contemporary genocides. Gov. Rick Perry has since signed into law legislation that will create a Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission to fulfill the goals outlined in the Museum’s proposal.
The Museum also submitted its collaboration with Texas Southern University (TSU) in launching a new class allowing TSU students to explore the role of blacks in the Holocaust and to begin a dialogue between the Jewish and largely non-Jewish African-American communities in Houston. TSU, the second largest historically black college in the nation, had 11 students attend the class at the Museum for two afternoons a week for one semester.
“The Museum is very proud to receive the award and that it came from the ADL,” said Michael S. Goldberg, chairman of the Museum’s board of directors. “The ADL stands for the same principles that founded this Museum: teaching respect and a call to action to end bigotry and hate everywhere.”
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.
For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.