S.F. Board of Supervisors votes to support Holocaust education bill

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday in support of a state Senate bill that would bolster Holocaust education for the state’s middle and high school students.

SB 693, which was introduced by state Sen. Henry Stern (San Fernando Valley) and is also known as the “Never Again Education Act,” would create a Governor’s Council on Genocide and Holocaust Education to “establish best practices for, and promote implementation of, education on genocide, including the Holocaust.” The council also would be required to submit a progress report to the Legislature.

In addition, the bill would introduce lessons about the Armenian, Rwandan and other genocides perpetuated throughout the world.

The city resolution to support the bill was introduced by District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who represents portions of Cow Hollow, the Marina District, Pacific Heights and Laurel Heights.

In her resolution, Stefani cited a 2019 audit by the Anti-Defamation League that recorded 2,107 antisemitic incidents in the United States, the highest since the organization started a tally in 1979.

She also pointed to a 2020 study commissioned by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany that found certain gaps in knowledge of adults and Generation Z about the Holocaust, such as the ability to name a concentration camp or cite the number of Jews killed.

“In California and across the nation we are seeing a surge in hate crimes,” Stefani wrote in a statement submitted into the record. “[E]ducating our State’s children on these atrocities could not be more important.”

The state Senate bill has the support of the ADL, Hadassah, the S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center and the Armenian Assembly of America. It is part of a larger set of priorities released on May 6 by the California Legislative Jewish Caucus addressing the recent rise in hate crimes against Jews and Asian Americans.

According to Stern’s office, the cost to taxpayers as the bill stands now is approximately $6.4 million. It will be voted on in a suspense file hearing on May 20 by the Senate Appropriations Committee. If it passes, it will move to a full vote by the Senate.

Gabriel Greschler is a staff writer at J. You can reach him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ggreschler.

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