Tuesday, January 19, 2010

PSC Commemorates Martin Luther King Day

Diversity discussions and a talk by Holocaust survivor Elane Norych Geller help the PSC community celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

On Monday at 11:00 am in the Student Center, the Black Student Union celebrated Martin Luther King day by sponsoring diversity discussions during the lunch hour.

Members of the Peru State College community joined President Dan Hanson, Elaine Hanson, and Tuesday's guest speaker, Elane Norych Geller, at tables throughout the cafeteria to discuss various diversity issues with students.

And at 5:30 that evening, students and others wore blue to commemorate Martin Luther King and gathered for a group photograph.

On Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., Holocaust survivor Elane Norych Geller spoke about the dangers of bigotry, racism, and hatred to large crowd gathered in the Peru State College Theater.

One of the youngest of holocaust survivors, Elane Norych Geller was only four when the Nazis invaded her native Poland in 1939.

She shared with the college community some of the horrors at the hands of the Nazis--and both her aunt's loving care and Geller's own determination that led to the speaker's survival when British troops liberated Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945.

Geller shared as well her experiences as a survivor, articulating both the psychological scars that mark her days and her iron determination to confront all forms of hatred, "to recognize the disease of racism and bigotry and empower people to say something."

As she noted, "I believe passionately that activism is the only way to go." By confrontation and action, she insisted, "we can relegate those who hate to the back rooms and basements where they belong."

Geller lectures as one of a small group of "Survivor" volunteers at the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Santa Monica, CA, and travels with her message of both tolerance and activism across the country.

"When you're silent," she emphasized, "you become part of the problem."

I posted some photographs from the preceding events.


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