The Colorado Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), a program of JEWISHcolorado, joins the Jewish community, the Armenian community, and many others in celebrating Governor Polis signing HB20-1336, the Holocaust and Genocide Studies in Public Schools bill. The bill calls for the Colorado Department of Education to adopt stronger standards for K-12 instruction on the Holocaust and other genocides by July 1, 2021.
“We could not have reached this historic moment without a lot of hard work from the JCRC, its member agencies, Holocaust survivors in Colorado, and the other communities that, like the Jewish community, have been decimated by genocide,” said Rabbi Jay Strear, JEWISHcolorado president & CEO. “Because of this bill, students in Colorado schools will be better able to understand the bigotry that led to these horrifying moments in human history and to identify the warning signs so they can prevent such atrocities from happening again.”
The Colorado JCRC participated in the community stakeholder meetings around the legislation and convened legislators, including past participants in its biennial Colorado Public Officials Mission to Israel, to discuss it. After the bill’s introduction in March, the JCRC worked with co-prime sponsors Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet (HD-30) and Emily Sirota (HD-9) and Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg (SD-18) and Dennis Hisey (SD-2) to sign on additional co-sponsors. Advocacy for the passage of HB20-1336 was not limited to the Jewish community. The JCRC worked closely with member agencies, including the Anti-Defamation League Mountain States Region and B’nai B’rith Colorado, as well as representatives of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region (ANCA-WR), Armenians of Colorado, the Coalition Against Global Genocide (CoAGG), the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, and others equally dedicated to this cause.
When a fuller picture of the negative economic impact of the pandemic on the state emerged, many were concerned that the bill may not make it to Governor Polis’s desk during this legislative session. The Colorado JCRC rallied Jewish organizations to commit to covering a portion of the costs associated with the legislation, ANCA-WR concurrently gathered financial support in the Armenian community, and CoAGG gathered support from other community organizations, thus helping ensure the bill’s continued progress through and unanimous passage by the Colorado House of Representatives and Senate.
JEWISHcolorado was honored to host the bill signing this afternoon and to witness this historic moment alongside leaders from the Jewish and Armenian communities, educators, and other stakeholders.
Rooted in shared Jewish values and enduring commitment to Israel, the JCRC is a coalition of 39 organizations and 15 at-large members that advocates for the Colorado Jewish community, educates on issues of importance to the global Jewish community, and cultivates and sustains relationships with public officials and faith, ethnic, and other stakeholder groups.