On Monday, April 19, 2021, District 113 will host a joint Genocide Commemoration Day. This day is dedicated to honoring victims and survivors with a variety of experiences that we hope will provide meaningful remembrances, inspiring stories and awareness of current issues that may move many to action. There are many opportunities to participate:
Featured Speakers on Zoom
9 - 10: Christian Picciolini, a former neo-Nazi who now works to combat hate, racism, and extremism. Attendance is limited, so a link to his webinar will only be available to those students who are attending with a class. Please ask your teachers for more details.
11 - 12: Omer Kanat, Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), is a human rights advocate and broadcast journalist. Use this link for the webinar. If the webinar reaches capacity, you can find the livestream on the District 113 YouTube channel.
1 - 2: Kurt Gutfreund, a Holocaust survivor and grandparent of a District 113 student. Use this link for the webinar. If the webinar reaches capacity, you can find the livestream on the District 113 YouTube channel.
Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, a public speaker, author, peace advocate, and a former violent extremist. Christian chronicles his involvement and exit from the early American white-supremacist skinhead movement in his memoir, White American Youth, and is the featured subject in season 3 of WBEZ’s 'Motive' podcast. He now leads the Free Radicals Project, a global extremism prevention and disengagement network, and has helped hundreds of individuals leave hate behind. He showcases his disengagement work in a second book, Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism, published in 2020 by Hachette Books, as well as the MSNBC documentary series of the same name. View his Ted Talk here.
Omer Kanat is Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), a human rights research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. He has two decades of experience as a broadcast journalist. From 1999 to 2009 Mr. Kanat was Senior Editor at Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, where he covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, edited Uyghur-language news, conducted exclusive interviews with prominent figures in Inner Asia, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and reported on breaking news around the world. Prior to his work at Radio Free Asia, he was Editor and later Senior Editor at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service. View his interview with PBS NewsHour from 2018 here.
Kurt Gutfreund was born in Vienna, Austria, in January 1938. His father, Heinrich, was deported on June 9, 1942 to Malytrostinec and murdered upon arrival. Kurt's grandfather, Sigmund, was deported from Vienna to Theresienstadt on June 6, 1942, and was deported to Treblinka and murdered. Kurt and his mother, Hildegard, were deported on Kurt's 5th birthday, January 6, 1943, to Theresienstadt and were liberated by the Red Army on May 8, 1945. After liberation, Kurt and his mother went back to Vienna and then emigrated to the United States in 1958. He has three children, and two grandchildren, and he dedicates much of his life speaking about his experience in the Holocaust. View a recent talk he did for the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center here.