Massachusetts lawmakers to discuss genocide education bill

The Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Eastern Massachusetts has announced that the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Education will be discussing a bill related to genocide education next week, the Armenian Weekly reports.

The public hearing for H.566 and S. 327—“An Act concerning genocide education”—will be held on Monday October 7, 2019 at the Massachusetts State House.

There will be testimony from scholars, teachers, students and community activists in support of the bill that mandates the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to include the instruction of the Holocaust and the genocide “to address the notion that national, ethnic, racial or religious hatred can overtake any nation or society, leading to calamitous consequences.”

The language of the bill continues, “To reinforce that lesson, such curriculum unit shall include the Nazi atrocities of 1933 to 1945 known as the Holocaust, and other genocides including, but not limited to, the Armenian Genocide, the Famine-Genocide in Ukraine known as Holodomor, the Pontian Greek Genocide, and more recent atrocities in Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Sudan.”

Monday’s hearing will feature testimony from scholars, teachers, students, and community activists in support of the bill.

In 1998, the state legislature passed a bill that required genocide education in the state social studies curriculum framework; but this bill would mandate that all students learn about cases of genocide. It will provide young people more opportunities to explore how stereotypes, prejudice and religious and ethnic hatred can escalate to tragedy.

Currently 12 states mandate the teaching of genocide. Most recently in 2016, the ANC of Michigan took a leading role in the successful effort to pass a genocide mandate for Michigan public school students.

The ANC of Eastern Mass., the Anti Defamation League of New England and the Jewish Community Relations Council are leading a coalition of 25 organizations and religious institutions that are advocating for passage of the Genocide Education Act.

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