ADL Youth Leadership Mission to Equip Students with an “Action Plan” to Confront Hate

Washington, D.C., October 26, 2014 … A diverse group of students from across the country will embark on a significant experience to apply lessons learned from the Holocaust to their own lives and lead the fight against bigotry and hate in their respective communities at the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Grosfeld Family National Youth Leadership Mission.

The mission, which will take place from Sunday, October 26 to Wednesday, October 29 in Washington, D.C., will involve 110 youths from metro areas across the country including Albany, New York City, New England, Florida, Washington D.C., Chicago, New Orleans, Denver, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The high school students were selected for their extraordinary leadership qualities and demonstration of interest in issues of diversity.

"In the aftermath of the incidents in Ferguson, issues of racism, bigotry and bias are once again at the forefront and directly impact the lives of young people," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor. "This mission has truly proven to be not only a life changing experience in the moment, but also a tangible tool to take back home, allowing the students to create an action plan to serve as ambassadors in the fight against racism and hate in their schools and communities."

Mr. Foxman will also join in addressing the group and share his personal story of being saved from the Nazis by his Polish Catholic nanny.

The centerpiece of the mission will focus on a significant amount of time at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where students will learn about the persecution and atrocities of the Second World War, and examine contemporary issues of extremism, bigotry and genocide. The students will also engage in in-depth discussions about lessons that can be applicable in their individual lives and how they can play a part in fighting prejudice.

During breakout sessions conducted by ADL's A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute facilitators, students will share their personal experiences with bullying, hatred and discrimination, and discuss how the lessons of the Holocaust can be applied today.

Other notable presenters will include:

  • 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.
  • Jacqueline Murekatete, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide and an internationally recognized genocide prevention and human rights activist.

The students will attend ADL’s 20th annual "In Concert Against Hate" on October 27 at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where heroes in the fight against hate and intolerance will be honored. The student delegates will also hear from the heroes that stood up against or were the victims of hate crimes.

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.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.