Holocaust Education Update
Since our wonderful Midwest Holocaust Education Consortium meeting in La Crosse in August, I have been busy with several Holocaust projects.
1. One of the most exciting was the appearance of Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza at Viterbo Sept. 22nd. Tickets for her presentation sold out in less than three hours so all 1150 seats in the Fine Arts Center were filled along with putting people in overflow seating in smaller theaters equipped with sound and screens; many had to be turned away. The best way I can describe the event is to say, "It rivaled Elie Wiesel's September 2006 visit." Everywhere I go people tell me how reading Immaculee's book Left to Tell & seeing her speak changed their lives. I am happy that Ellen Bisping was able to join us.
2. On October 6th I gave two 90-minute presentations at the La Crosse School District in-service meeting to try to get more Holocaust education into the schools. Many of you helped me with planning as I used my work session at our Consortium meeting to ask for your help. There is very little Holocaust education going on in the district. Even though the sessions were well received, we didn't get enough teachers to sign up to take a graduate class I was asked to offer on "How to Teach the Holocaust" so that was disappointing.
3. On October 8th I spoke to a local Rotary club about my journey in Holocaust education, and I will do the same at a Unitarian meeting on October 19th.
4. I am now in the process of working on our third Holocaust
Educators' Workshop to be held at Viterbo March 26th & 27th. Steve Feinberg will again join us as a presenter, & Holocaust survivor Manya Friedman will come from the USHMM to speak to the community the evening of the 26th & will be at the workshop for teachers the next day. Many teachers come from small towns all over our tri-state area and do not have access to Holocaust survivors so this is a great chance for them to spend time with a survivor. I am hoping Mary Murphy will again be a presenter at our workshop.
5. November 21st Karen Shawn, Bill Younglove, myself & two other teachers will present a roundtable at the National Council of Teachers of English in San Antonio entitled "Student Coping During Holocaust Studies: Analysis & Responses."
6. I am looking way ahead here, but after hearing Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, who was sued for libel by the world's most prominant Holocaust denier David Irving, speak at the Vladka Meed reunion in February & at a Holocaust Educators' Workshop at UW-L Milwaukee where Mary Munson & I presented, I asked Rick Kyte if I could try to bring Deborah to Viterbo. He agreed; i issued an invitation which she accepted, & we are now working on a date for spring 2010.
I am indebted to Gigi Lincoln for using her great expertise to set up this ning for us so Consortium members can communicate about ideas, concerns, & updates about our activities. I hope all Consortium members will sign on.
A final note, you may remember me prancing around on my lime green cast at the Consortium. Alas, 17 months of treatment has done nothing so I am left with the only option left, surgery which is scheduled for January 13, 2009, followed by what promises to be a long recovery.