Holocaust and human rights symposium open to all online

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SOMETHING different will happen when students from across the province gather online Thursday for the 20th Holocaust and Human Rights Symposium: their parents and other adults can join them, too.

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SOMETHING different will happen when students from across the province gather online Thursday for the 20th Holocaust and Human Rights Symposium: their parents and other adults can join them, too.

For the first time, the annual event, which this year features Holocaust survivor Stefan Carter and Free Press columnist Niigaan Sinclair, will be virtual.

Usually held in-person at the University of Winnipeg, the event was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s symposium will be streamed for anyone who wants to attend — and not just students, said Belle Jarniewski, executive director of the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada (the event is also sponsored by Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and Jewish Foundation of Manitoba).

“In a normal year, over 1,200 students from about 28 schools are involved,” she said. “This year, because it’s virtual, we are inviting anyone who wants to attend.”

Going virtual also means more schools, including some from outside Winnipeg, are participating. Fifty schools had signed up by Tuesday.

During the 10-11:45 a.m. symposium, Carter will talk about life before, during and after the Holocaust; Sinclair will talk about life for Indigenous people before, during and after residential schools.

The event comes soon after the papal apology in Rome to Indigenous people for the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in residential schools, Jarniewski noted.

Its timing is also significant because April 6 is the 28th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.

“After that the world said, ‘Never again,’ but it keeps happening again and again,” Jarniewski said of human rights abuses that occur around the globe. “We need to pay attention, no matter where they happen.”

The symposium is also of significance because “the window is closing to hear first-hand from Holocaust survivors,” she said, noting Carter is 94.

Attendees will be able to send in questions to the two panelists.

To register, visit www.jhcwc.org/programs.

faith@freepress.mb.ca

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