Hate crimes and crimes against humanity continue to occur all around the world every day and we must be constantly vigilant to make sure that prejudice and intolerance never obtain a foothold in Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley said today at ceremonies marking the City’s 22nd Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“Each year on Holocaust Remembrance Day we come together to remember and to learn,” Daley said at the remembrance event held at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, 9603 Woods Dr., Skokie.
In 1990, Daley started Holocaust Remembrance Day in Chicago in memory of the victims and in honor of the survivors of one of darkest moments in the history of humanity.
“All of us share responsibility for discouraging discrimination in our society, and we can never take anything for granted,” the Mayor said.
According to the latest count by the Southern Poverty Law Center there are 1,002 known hate groups operating across the United States and that in the last decade, the number of hate groups has increased by more than 50 percent.
Each year, approximately 7,500 hate crimes are committed nationally – almost one hate crime every hour of every day.
“In this battle against the systematic persecution of people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation or their beliefs, one of our greatest allies is memory. We can never allow ourselves to forget hatred and racism, left unchecked, will grow to monstrous proportions,” Daley said.
He said it is important for everyone on Remembrance Day -- but especially for young people -- to listen to what Holocaust survivors such as Beatrice Muchman, who spoke at today’s event, have to tell us about the Holocaust and then to carry forward her memories.
“We cannot allow the Holocaust ever to fade into history, even after all those who experienced it personally have left us,” he said.
Daley said although first-hand recollections of the Holocaust are terrifying, they are also inspirational.
“They remind us that the human spirit was able to triumph over the kind of evil that most of us could not imagine in our worst nightmares. The stories of Holocaust survivors unite us in respect for humanity and compel us to overcome intolerance and indifference through learning,” he said.
# # #