President Barack Obama included gay people among those who died in the Holocaust who “must never be forgotten.” The President was speaking today, Holocaust Remembrance Day, at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition to Jewish people, also specifically mentioned were “Poles and Catholics and Roma” people.
I say this as a President, and I say it as a father. We must tell our children about a crime unique in human history. The one and only Holocaust — six million innocent people — men, women, children, babies — sent to their deaths just for being different, just for being Jewish. We tell them, our children, about the millions of Poles and Catholics and Roma and gay people and so many others who also must never be forgotten. Let us tell our children not only how they died, but also how they lived — as fathers and mothers, and sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters who loved and hoped and dreamed, just like us.
We must tell our children about how this evil was allowed to happen — because so many people succumbed to their darkest instincts, and because so many others stood silent.
In “Obama invokes Holocaust to confront Syria, Iran,” The Washington Post notes:
Invoking the call of “never again” used on Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Obama pledged Monday (April 23) to confront human atrocities across the globe in countries like Syria and Iran.
Speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the president announced that his administration’s new Atrocities Prevention Board was meeting for the first time Monday. He also unveiled a new executive order that authorizes additional sanctions against Damascus, Tehran and their supporters who use technology, such as cell phone monitoring, to commit serious human rights abuses.
Professor Elie Wiesel, a “Romanian-born Jewish-American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor,” spoke for about nine minutes before introducing President Obama.
The president, however, did not mention LGBT people today in an OMB Statement of Official Policy supporting the Senate’s reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The upgrade to the VAWA includes protection provisions for undocumented immigrants and LGBT people. The Republicans are angered at the inclusion of these minorities and will likely kill the bill. Voting is expected this week.
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