SPRINGFIELD – With the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission set to expire on Jan. 1, 2022, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), one of two Jewish members of the Illinois Senate, is sponsoring a measure to extend the expiration by ten years.
“The Holocaust is among the most heinous events in human history,” Feigenholtz said. “Nearly a century later, not only are we seeing more and more adults and children articulate the depth of the Holocaust, we have seen increased hate crimes towards Jewish people in our country. It is extremely important that we continue educating our youth and work to find innovative ways to teach tolerance alongside the atrocities of the Holocaust.”
In 1990, Illinois became the first state to require Holocaust study as part of the public school curriculum. The Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission was established in 2011 to provide advice and assistance regarding the inclusion of Holocaust and genocide-related curricula. The commission was inactive during the Rauner administration but was reactivated under Gov. JB Pritzker. The law that created the commission is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2022. Feigenholtz’s Senate Bill 544 extends that date an additional 10 years to 2032.
“With anti-Semitic attacks on the rise, the importance of this commission, focusing on age appropriate education, cannot be underscored enough,” Feigenholtz said. “The commission must continue its work educating the children of Illinois.”
The Illinois Senate approved the measure with no opposition, and it will now be sent to the House of Representatives.