Confronting Anti Semitism and Religious Intolerance

Confronting Anti Semitism and Religious Intolerance

Posted by: Joanne Tromiczak-Neid, Justice Coordinator
Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate

Hannah Rosenthal, Special Envoy to Combat and Monitor Anti- Semitism, U. S. Department of State was the featured speaker at the Town Hall Meeting hosted by Congressman Keith Ellison (MN), Wednesday, May 18. Special Envoy Rosenthal described her work as 1) diplomacy (nations, United Nations, Euorpean Union, etc.) 2) public diplomacy (engaging civil society) 3) programming (funding projects).

Nationalism/ultra-nationalism are strong trends that are excalating in South America and Western Europe – both, she stated, can be described as “running on hate.” The desecration of Jewish cemeteries and assertions that “Israel should not exist” are but two examples of this troubling trend.
A 2010 visit to Auschwitz and Dachau led by Special Envoy Rosenthal included eight Imams showing solidarity with the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust. At the conclusion of the trip, she said that “as representatives of government, and communities we joined these clerics to bear witness to the horror and tragedy of the Holocaust and vow ‘never again.'” She went on to state that denial of the Holocaust is “a lie that won’t die.”
She has worked with Elie Weisel, Nobel Peace Prize Winner (1986), who continues to ask through his writing, teaching and personal appearances, what did we learn from the Holocaust? He also expressed grave concern for our future noting that indifferent people do not confront evil. Congressman Ellision said, “as people of conscience we must stand up and speak up!”

Imam Magid, President of the Islamic Society of North America, was also scheduled to speak regarding his experiences of visiting Auschwitz and Dachau. Congressman Ellison announced that he had been called back to Washington, D. C. to be present when the President will deliver remarks at the State Department on how the U. S. can support positive change in the Middle East and North Africa.
In an effort to engage people under the age of 30, a cross cultural learning experience

2011 Hours Against Hate has been developed by Special Envoy Rosenthal and Special Representative Pandith to provide an opportunity for people to walk in the shoes of another person or group that is very different from them. Together, Special Envoy Rosenthal and Special Representative Pandith officially launched 2011 Hours Against Hate at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, Austria on February 17, 2011. This work can also be followed on FACEBOOK.

Stand Up. Speak Out.

Hate is Hate, No Matter Who the Target Is. (2011 Hours Against Hate)

PBS Independent Lens, May 24: ‘Welcome to Shelbyville

Posted by: Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate

I have seen “Welcome to Shelbyville” and found it to be a powerful testament to a committed group of people who worked together get to know the new immigrants among them and to welcome them into their community, moving beyond discord and division.

PBS writes, “On the eve of the 2008 election, the town of Shelbyville, Tennessee finds itself embroiled in a struggle to come to terms with a new wave of immigrants and grappling with what it means to be American.”

For more information, Program Schedule and the opportunity to take the “Immigration Facts and Myths Quiz,” copy and paste into your browser:

From Death to Life: Friday, May 20, 7:00 p.m.

Join us to hear Mary Johnson,mother of a murdered son and Oshea Israel who took that life describe their journey to meet in compassion and eventual forgiveness.

Carondelet Center, 1890 Randolph Ave. St. Paul


“From Death to Life” is an organization founded by Mary Johnson to end violence by seeking to repair harm through healing and reconciliation.

Presented by: Criminal Justice Working Group of the Justice Commission of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates

Sam Ostlund, Mahtomedi High School Senior Wins C-SPAN Student Cam 2011 Award

Posted by: Joanne Tromiczak-Neid, Justice Coordinator and Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate

Sam Ostlund, Mahtomedi High School Class of 2011 was advised on April 12 that he was the recipient of the Third Place C-SPAN Student- Cam Award. May 10,Rachel Katz, Marketing Representative forC-SPAN presented him with the award in the Chautauqua Theatre at Mahtomedi High School.
In her remarks Rachel stated that 1,100 student videos were submitted from across the nation. Sam’s video, Homeless, was a standout. One of the major themes for students this year was education.

The C-SPAN 2011 theme is “Washington, D.C., Through My Lens. Tell us about an issue, event or topic that helped you better understand the roll of the federal government in your life and community.”

The award ceremony was an opportunity to congratulate Sam, who is enrolled at the University of Minnesota to begin his post-graduate studies and an opportunity to congratulate C-SPAN for their work of recognizing the accomplishment of students across the country. Sam’s video is an example of what we can learn when we actually see the person among us who is marginalized, learn the person’s story and then learn about the challenges inherent in the issue for all us.

Congratulations Sam on your award-winning video and your commencement from Mahtomedi High School!
Congratulations Mahtomedi High School for your commitment to the creative academic achievements emodied in Sam Oslund.
Congratulations C-SPAN for your work of recognizing the tremendous achievements of our youth!