Gedenk, the non for profit organization formed by Grammy award-winning musician and humanitarian Miri Ben-Ari, has teamed up with Scholastic Art & Writing Awards to create the Gedenk Award for Tolerance.
Five winners will be selected to receive a medal along with a cash award of $1,000 for their writing or their original work of art. The goal is to encourage young people to use creative outlets, such as music, poetry (literature) and other forms of art for self-expression while considering their own role in creating a more tolerant world. Students are asked to create written pieces or original works of art that reflect upon the lessons learned from the Holocaust and other genocides, and attempt to raise awareness of the importance of increasing tolerance to safeguard a peaceful society.
According to Miri Ben-Ari, the Grammy Award-Winning violinist and producer, currently the CEO of Gedenk, “We are pleased to collaborate with Scholastic Art & Writing Awards on this campaign. It’s not easy to encourage young people to learn about atrocities such as the Holocaust, but this unique and creative approach has engaged them to embrace tolerance.”
Coinciding with the Scholastic Awards campaign, Gedenk is celebrating the launch of their newly designed website, GedenkMovement.org. The site is a hub of information and a nexus for young people to explore the themes of Gedenk’s mission of tolerance. The site will feature forums, blogs, video content, and interactive dialogue that encourage visitors to become a supportive community and share how they have fought back against intolerance. Gedenk is a word that means, “remember” in Yiddish. In that spirit, site visitors can contribute to the virtual memorial by adding a name and message in honor of anyone who endured a form of genocide.
Gedenk is a movement that was established in 2006 to promote awareness about how ignorance, bigotry and hatred have and can ultimately result in genocide, even in a civilized society. The Jewish Holocaust began with commonplace acts – simple acts of intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry between neighbors, such as those that many of us are used to seeing and ignoring every day. Gedenk strives to empower young people, giving them the tools to stand up for themselves, their peers and their community against intolerance of all kinds.
The Scholastic Arts & Awards campaign is open to any public, private, parochial or home-school student in grades 7 – 12 in the U.S., Canada. Students in an American school abroad may also participate in the Awards. Submissions are now being accepted and the deadline within 2014 varies slightly by region. Scholastic has supported and encouraged the creativity of teens for 90 years, and collectively with Gedenk they will award and recognize the exceptional vision and impact of the youth of today.
Gedenk is excited to team up with Scholastic after similar partnerships have successfully helped carry Gedenk’s mission on a global level. In 2011 Gedenk partnered with MTV/Viacom and Public Interest, to launch three public service announcement campaigns “The Holocaust happened to people like us” which received extensive coverage from the major networks.