Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
Kindness, support and respect run deep in Idaho. The response to the vandalism of the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho, is a recent example of the depth of compassion in Idahoans. I commend Idahoans, and specifically the Boise community, for coming together so quickly to fight hate speech and related vandalism.
At a recent event at the Anne Frank Memorial, I had the opportunity to present a Congressional Record Statement recognizing this rejection of hateful language and vandalism. Members of the Idaho State Legislature, including Senator Cherie Buckner-Webb (Boise), Senator Chuck Winder (Boise) and Representative Hy Kloc (Boise), and Mayor Dave Bieter also attended and spoke at the event. Excerpts of the Congressional Record Statement I presented follow:
“Since the recent vandalism, considerable resources have poured in to repair and enhance the Memorial. Rather than responding with anger and hate, Idaho is moving forward with a positive spirit of renewal and inclusiveness. Dan Prinzing, Executive Director of the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights that built the Memorial with support from the Carr Foundation and others and now partners with Boise Parks & Recreation to maintain the Memorial, said ‘An act of hate by an individual is not us, the community’s response to the act is what defines who we are and the values we share. Now what does that do for us? It emboldens the message of the Memorial and reinforces that our work is not done.’
The Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial was dedicated to the public 15 years ago to offer a place for visitors to consider and reflect on human rights and inspire engagement with others about the issue. The Memorial is a beautiful and thought-provoking resource, which includes a statue of Anne Frank, quotes and excerpts of her writings as well as a wall of inspiring quotes. The love and care, including the support of Idaho students and their families, that went into this Memorial’s creation is prevailing upon its restoration and contributing to ongoing human rights discussions. Among the many quotes highlighted at the Memorial is the following from Mother Teresa, ‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.’
I commend all those who are coming together to counter the acts of hateful vandalism with kindness that will continue to echo through our communities and nation.”
The encouraging, thoughtful and constructive responses reflect the leadership of those whose words are echoed on the walls of the Memorial. Dan Prinzing informs that words are used to inspire at the Memorial that was inspired by Anne Frank’s hope for humanity. In Anne Frank’s words, “I still believe, in spite of everything that people are truly good at heart.” We see this goodness in the actions of countless Idahoans.
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