Assemblyman William Colton (D-47 AD) initiated a school Assembly Program at St. Athanasius Parochial School on the Holocaust that was presented by the Jewish Community House (JCH) Russian Holocaust Survivors Club. He was very proud that this educational program was the result of a recent meeting he had called at his office with religious leaders responding to several swastika incidents in the neighborhood.
After hearing holocaust survivor Sima Budman, a former school Principal in the Soviet Union, speak at that meeting in which she revealed the traumatic memories and horrors she associates with the swastika, Monsignor David Cassato invited her to speak to his upper classmen at St. Athanasius Parochial School on Friday, April 23rd. Monsignor Cassato was so impressed with her story that he felt that it should be related to all school children.
Assemblyman Colton agreed, stating that an all out effort should be made to tell all the generations of the horrors of the holocaust. The kids must know how innocent people were murdered and how those that survived had suffered tremendously under the symbol of the Nazi swastika. Then they will understand what terrible memories and emotions these victims feel when they see the dreaded swastika and the terrors it represents.
"The schools are an important part in the battle against hate crimes and the children must be taught early on as part of their school education," stated the Benson/Gravesend legislator.
Assemblyman Colton applauded the JCH Russian Holocaust Survivors Club speakers, Luba Abramovich, Boris Gelfand, Faina Ryzhikova, Eolana Lieberman and Sima Budman. Anatoliy Eisenberg was requested by the JCH Russian Holocaust Survivors Club to translate.
Assemblyman Colton has introduced new legislation in the Assembly that will increase penalties for the making of swastikas and burning crosses from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Assemblyman Colton realizes that legislation alone is not enough in the war against hate crimes, and that there must be complete community involvement. Community leaders and elected officials must get the word out in every possible way that these wanton acts of hate such as swastikas and burning crosses will not be tolerated and that the police will have our full support to not only stop these crimes, but pursue their prosecution.