WHEELING, W.Va (WTRF) – According to the Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, there were 1,879 anti-Semitic cases across the U.S. in 2018.
These cases included assault, harassment, and vandalism and a significant amount of these cases happened in schools K-12, colleges and universities.
However, there are programs like the Pittsburgh based “Classrooms Without Borders” that help teach educators and their students about tolerance and diversity.
Jamie Campbell, Coordinator, Classrooms Without Borders/Wheeling, said she and her colleagues with the organization were inspired by the Tree of Life mass slaying to keep pushing for inclusion.
“The importance of what we are doing… that it’s more important now than ever,” said Campbell.
On June 30, the organization is sending three teachers, Becky Disaia, Julie Schultz and Russ Schultz along with one student, Mandolyn Harkness from the Ohio Valley overseas to Poland.
They’ll combine with a group of Pittsburgh teachers and students for the “Poland Personally” seminar. While they are there, they’ll view some of the most thought-provoking holocaust landmarks Central Europe has to offer and will be guided personally by a holocaust survivor.
“You can read it from a book. You can read about Auschwitz. You can read about Majdanek – but standing in the gas chambers is different,” said Campbell.
This awakening experience is one that will change the way these educators approach lessons of the holocaust in their classrooms forever.
“We’ve read about it and to actually be there and see it. I have no idea what that’s going to be for us,” said Disaia.
Harkness is the only student from the Ohio Valley selected to go on this trip and she’s not taking one moment of it for granted.
“I feel like it’s my responsibility as a young person to hear their story and carry it on to my generation,” said Harkness.
The group will be gone from June 30 to July 8.