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CMU Invites Community Members to Campus for the Holocaust Awareness Series

The 19th annual Holocaust Awareness Series begins April 3 through April 7 with the Field of Flags, lectures, a panel discussion and more

April 4, 2022 marks the 19th year for Colorado Mesa University’s Holocaust Awareness Series. The series was created to bring awareness to genocidal issues and serves as a reminder to campus and the broader community to speak up against the atrocities that still exist in the world.

Associate Professor of History Vincent V. Patarino, Jr. started the Holocaust Awareness Series in 2004. While some of the events are tradition, such as the Field of Flags, the topics discussed in the lectures change based on current events and faculty member’s areas of expertise.

“The intention of the series has always been interdisciplinary, to bring awareness of the issues to genocide,” said Patarino.

This year’s scheduled events come at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise. In 2020, the Anti-Defamation League reported more than 2,000 antisemitic incidents, which is the third highest on record. Jonathan Greenblatt, Anti-Defamation League CEO and national director, reported earlier this year that while Jews make up less than 2% of the US population, they experience 60% of the faith-related hate crimes in the country. Bari Weiss, opinion writer, editor and author of the book How to Fight Anti-Semitism, will be on campus on April 5 to discuss this particular topic, along with free speech. In addition to Weiss’ visit, there will be a screening of Stephen Spielberg's Schindler's List and lectures covering everything from gendercide to cultural and physical violence against Native peoples.

“This year's series offers an excellent slate of presentations that focus not only on the Holocaust of the Second World War era, but also on actions that have occurred within our own American history,” added Patarino.

Throughout the years the series has brought attention to genocides that have occurred world-wide, not only those committed by the Nazi regime.  

"My goal has always been to bring to light the issues surrounding modern genocide: its origins, causes and effects on human societies. At base, the series is an example of the central mission of a university to serve as a beacon for discourse and education to the local communities and counties that we serve,” said Patarino.

On Sunday, April 3 at 1pm south of The Plaza, faculty, staff and students will set up flags. The Field of Flags dedication will be on Monday, April 4, at 10:50am. Rabbi Jay Strear from Jewish Colorado will give the prayer. President Marshall will be in attendance.

“I invite everyone to stand in front of our Field of Flags, which details all the various groups targeted by the Nazi regime and connect it to actions that continue to occur in the present — challenging us all to consider how we could best answer, as individuals and communities, the clarion call, 'never again'."

Patarino worked in collaboration with Associate Professor of History Adam Rosenbaum, PhD, to bring the series to fruition, with the help of the CMU Civic Forum. Together, the two history buffs hope both the campus community and broader community engage with the series. Members of media are also invited to attend. For more information visit coloradomesa.edu/civic-forum/holocaust-awareness-series.

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Written by Kelsey Coleman