Glendale High students get a lesson on atrocities, then and now
Glendale High students on Thursday walked through several tents featuring photographs and facts about several genocides, beginning with the Armenian Genocide that began in 1915.
Glendale High sophomore Adam Al-Nihmy volunteered to facilitate students as they learned about massacres that have occurred around the world, and he observed that some of his classmates were unaware of the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides, although many did know about the Holocaust and Armenian Genocide.
The exhibit’s purpose was to bring awareness about past massacres as well as ones occurring today, such as in Darfur.
It was created by the Hermosa Beach-based organization i-Act, which works to support organizations and politicians working to address present-day atrocities and prevent them, said Katie-Jay Scott Stauring, director of operations and community involvement for i-Act.
“I think it’s important to know that genocide still occurs,” Scott Stauring said. “After each one of these, the world said, ‘Never again.’ Most recently in Rwanda … the pictures are horrific … Since then, there has been a Darfur and now there’s a Yazidi genocide. The idea is that we have to do more than just speak up about it.”
The organization has brought the exhibit to hundreds of school campuses nationwide since 2006 and partnered with the Armenian National Committee of America to bring the tents to Glendale High this week.
The organization is also rallying behind an effort to pass the Genocide and Atrocities Act of 2016, which would establish a lasting Atrocities Prevention Board to better enhance the United States’ ability to respond and prevent massacres.
Before Glendale High senior Kassandra Figueroa had even finished looking at the exhibit, she said she was growing emotional.
“It would be so hard losing a younger sibling, your parents, just not having anyone,” she said.
The exhibit also addresses “the very thin line between a perpetrator and a bystander,” Scott Stauring said.
“Even though these [genocides] were all orchestrated by men in power, they were carried out by people like you and me. What makes somebody … follow authority blindly?” she asked. “We’re all bystanders if we know what’s going on and we’re not actively doing something.”
Kelly Corrigan, firstname.lastname@example.org