The time has come for us all to stand up against hate

May 29, 2024 by Judy Glick
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In the same week we saw repugnant antisemitic graffiti at Melbourne’s Mt Scopus College, our former treasurer Josh Frydenberg presented a new Sky News documentary on the rise of antisemitism in Australia and the hatred taking place in our streets.

Judy Glick

Through a reflective and, at times, emotional lens, he talked to prominent Australians who spoke about the rising tide of antisemitism. The need for strong leadership and action to stamp out this hatred transcended politics and faith. This is a call to action – never again is now.

To watch both the distress in the eyes of holocaust survivors who thought they had escaped such persecution and the tears of a young couple forced out of business was heartbreaking.

We are not powerless in the face of rising antisemitism. In the face of escalating hate speech and discrimination, it is imperative that we act decisively to educate and empower our young people to stand up against hate.

For thirty years Courage to Care has been educating young people about the dangers of discrimination and prejudice.

Every week, our dedicated volunteers educate and empower students to stand up and to call out injustice – and the impact is significant, with 86% of students demonstrating an increase in Upstander behaviour following their participation.

Now, more than ever, our Upstander message is needed. For young people and adults alike. We will not be silent in the face of hate.

We are at a pivotal point in history – we have reached over 390,000 students across Australia and remain determined to deliver our Upstander Programs to schools at no charge, reaching as many of our future leaders as we possibly can.

The fallout since October 7 has been confronting, upsetting and anxiety-ridden for so many of our community.  As a retired teacher, and mother of now grown-up children who went to a Jewish school in Melbourne, I feel shocked, saddened and angry – this simply should not be happening in the multicultural Australia that we know and love.

I draw inspiration from the collective resilience and optimism of our dedicated volunteers and our treasured Holocaust Survivor Speakers who courageously share their stories with students week-in-week-out, to ensure that the lessons of the past are not forgotten.

We know too well the devastating effects of standing by and doing nothing. As our long-time volunteer Peter Gaspar OAM says “The Holocaust didn’t start with gas chambers, murders, and executions. It started with stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and hate speech.” Today, we are witnessing a disturbing rise in these dangerous behaviours.

The time has come for us all to stand up against hate. We need strong, decisive leadership now at every level.It’s time for all to heed the call to action, and to all work together as Upstanders.

Judy Glick is the Chair of  Courage to Care Australia 

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