Dear CSU community:
International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27th) commemorates the tragedy of the genocide that occurred during the Second World War and resulted in the Nazi regime and its collaborators systematically killing six million Jews, along with millions of others, including many people from additional minoritized groups. Designated by the United Nations, the date marks the Soviet Red Army’s liberation of the largest Nazi concentration and death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, in 1945. We pledge to remember the victims who lost their lives in the most brutal and heinous ways through honoring their stories and never forgetting the costs associated with the normalization of racism, antisemitism, bigotry, and prejudice. We pledge to work together to end genocide and the hateful forces that lead to these violent acts.
Antisemitism may be expressed as hatred toward Jewish people and it takes many forms. Throughout history, antisemitism has resulted in murder, extermination, exile, humiliation, and other oppressive and deadly behaviors toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals, as well as the destruction of their property, community institutions, and religious facilities. Today, assault, harassment, and vandalism against Jewish people remain at near-historic levels in the U.S. The deadly attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh (2018) and Poway (2019) have made American Jewish communities feel more vulnerable than they have felt in decades. While Covid-19 reduced in-person cases of antisemitism, social media outlets have recorded a dramatic increase in antisemitic rhetoric and symbols. The insurrection at the U.S. capitol earlier this month revealed emboldened extremist groups rallying around symbols of antisemitism and showed us, yet again, how racism and prejudice are still very much part of American life.
Here in Colorado, we have not escaped these national trends, but there are also reasons to hope. In June 2020, CSU established the Presidential Task Force on Jewish Inclusion and the Prevention of Antisemitism. In doing so, CSU has demonstrated its strong commitment to combating these forces of hatred and to developing a Jewish-inclusive university for our students, staff, and faculty. Seventy-six years since the liberation of Auschwitz, neo-Nazis and white supremacists are resurgent and there are continued efforts to diminish the Holocaust and deny or downplay the responsibility of the perpetrators. But just as hatred persists, so must our resolve to fight it and build peace and justice throughout the world.
We encourage you to learn more by visiting these websites and resources:
- The Holocaust and United Nations Outreach Program
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Southern Law Poverty Center on hatred worldwide
- Anti-Defamation League website
- Presidential Task Force on Jewish Inclusion and the Prevention of Antisemitism (Jewish_CSU@colostate.edu)
Yours with respect and in solidarity,
Office of the Vice President for Diversity
Presidential Task Force on Jewish Inclusion and the Prevention of Antisemitism