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Press Release

Youth Leadership Mission Equips Students To Become Ambassadors In The Fight Against Bigotry And Hatred In Their Communities

New York, NY, December 11, 2012 … Participating in the National Youth Leadership Mission to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C, a diverse group of students embarked on a life-changing experience to apply lessons learned from the Holocaust to their own lives and lead the fight against bigotry and hate at home.

Selected for their leadership qualities and demonstrated interest in issues of diversity, students from Albany, New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, New Orleans, Florida, San Diego and Los Angeles participated in ADL’s 15th annual Grosfeld Family National Youth Leadership Mission.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s National Director and Holocaust survivor, joined in addressing the group and shared his story of being saved from the Nazis by his Polish Catholic nanny, and reiterated the fundamental message and importance of the program.

“Your decision to participate on this mission will forever change your lives,” Mr. Foxman said. “Each and every one of you has the ability to make an impact, and by being active participants here and learning about first-hand accounts from the Holocaust, you can now create a real positive change in your own communities.”

The centerpiece of the mission focused on a significant amount of time at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where students learned about the persecution and atrocities of the Second World War, and examined contemporary issues of extremism, bigotry and genocide by using the context from the lessons of the Holocaust. The students engaged in in-depth discussions about lessons that can be applicable in their individual lives and how they can play a part in fighting prejudice.

Other presenters included:

  • Dr. Leon Bass, a U.S. Army soldier during World War II who was detailed to Buchenwald Concentration Camp to assist in relief, and was among the first American soldiers to be seen by survivors of the camp
  • Nesse Godin, a survivor of a Lithuanian ghetto, the Stuffhof concentration camp, four labor camps, and a death march
  • Mauricio (Tony) Becerra, an inspirational speaker for the Freedom Writer Foundation who overcame bullying on the streets, and feeling invisible and inferior in the classroom. He has empowered thousands of young men and women to find their own voices and achieve self-confidence and self-worth

Founded in 1996 by ADL's Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest Regional Office, the Youth Leadership Mission became a national program in 1998, building on the success of previous programs in preparing students as role models against bigotry, prejudice and hate. It is generously sponsored by The Grosfeld Family Foundation.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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