Perry Signs Holocaust and Genocide Commission Legislation

Bill passed unanimously

Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation passed this session to create a Texas Holocaust and Genocide commission beginning Sept. 1.

Senate Bill (SB) 482 was introduced by Sens. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Florence Shapiro (R-Plano).

The commission, made up of 18 unpaid members, will provide guidance and resources to teach children lessons from the Holocaust and other contemporary genocides. It will also help preserve information and experiences, and work with organizations, agencies, museums, survivors and liberators to coordinate memorial events in the state.

It was also initiated and backed by the Holocaust Museum in Houston and had support from the Anti-Defamation League Southwest Region, San Antonio Holocaust Memorial Museum and the El Paso Holocaust Museum.

“I am very proud to have authored this bill with my good friend Senator Shapiro. We must all stand up and recognize that genocide continues to take place all over the world. Sixty-four years ago it was Eastern Europe. Today, it is Darfur,” Ellis said.

“The Holocaust and Genocide Commission is Texas’ effort to ensure that our schools and communities have the resources they need to teach our kids and neighbors to do what is morally right when faced with such atrocities.”

Education about genocides because particularly important as the generation of Holocaust survivors continue to pass away, and new conflicts arise around the world. According to the Holocaust Museum Houston, six Holocaust survivors have died within the last six months in Houston alone.

“It will help educate young people, who will be the future leaders of their chamber of commerce, school board or Girl Scout troop, that while we may take exception to the views of others we can and must do so in a respectful and civil manner,” Rep. Ellen Cohen said.

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