The Op-Ed “Why bystanders fail to intervene when strangers need help” [April 8, Opinion] helps explain the inaction of bystanders when they see the needs of the “other” rather than as the needs of “one of us.” This mindset can best be changed through education, something on which the Holocaust Center for Humanity in Seattle is focused.
The center teaches the lessons of the Holocaust, inspiring students of all ages to confront bigotry and indifference and to take action. We use the term “upstander” to encourage taking action rather than blindly watching injustices occur. Students begin to understand how small injustices can lead to horrific ones. They see bullying in school, and they learn to speak out, carrying this awareness forward in life. Likewise, our program of educating the Seattle police force on the Holocaust timeline and history shows that evolving laws created a targeted class of citizens, the “other.”
Education promotes human dignity and is the antidote to inaction.
Rachel Nathanson, Seattle, board member, Holocaust Center for Humanity