by Tony Washington-
What validates a museum? Is it because of the quality of its artifacts? Its very relevancy? These question are brought up mostly by people looking for ways to take away some or all of its funding. We live in an age when people are looking for any excuse to cut funding for the arts, all in the name of “less spending.” They are looking for for ways to cut back on the arts or anything looking like something that is”easy to cut.”
Refreshingly consistent in proving that hate is irrelevant is the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, located in Skokie, Illinois. This April, during their annual dinner that features former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the Holocaust Museum will attempt to teach young people why it is important to be “upstanders” against bullying and predjudice in all of its forms. Those hateful, hurtful practices have forced some youngsters to go so far as committing suicide rather than face another day of indignity. The Holocaust Museum knows about such indignities. Its halls are full of grim reminders of the men, women, and children who were senselessly murdered because of a bullying fueled by its own sick prejudice.
Just think: which one of those poor souls could have found a cure for cancer, peace in the Middle East, or even world peace? Their loss remains a reminder to each of us that hate of any kind, bullying, or prejudice is just plain senseless.
This museum was built from its foundation by the surviving men and women who were charged with the mandate of “never again!” That very mandate continues again on April 12th when the Holocaust Museum–joined by a former Secretary of State who, by the way, was born in the segregated south–will demonstrate why a living, vital museum like the one in Skokie continues to keep teaching and reaching out to others, finding ways to stamp out hate in all of its brutal shapes, sizes, and forms.