Created for us by one of PREVENT HATE’s student friends.
Update: Sent to us by another one of our student friends
On Tuesday, May 25, 2010, PREVENT HATE brought one of our speakers to Canoga High School in Los Angeles, CA for a program to inspire youth away from hate and violence, and to open their minds to creative outlets for their frustrations.
Mr. Zuhdi Sardar, a brilliant artist from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, spoke for approximately 45 minutes to a large group of students about his experiences with institutionalized discrimination and intergroup violence under Saddam Hussein’s regime, as well as his determination to channel his anger into productive methods. Today, Zuhdi Sardar’s smile is irrepresible, as well as is the love for humanity that he exudes.
An ethnic minority in the Middle East, the Kurds have been subjected to systemic violations of their human rights by various political parties representing ethnic majorities in the region. Mr. Sardar’s story is one of hope and inspiration, explaining how the friendships he cultivated across ethnic lines saved his life at a time when nearly all his childhood friends were murdered by government forces. At the end of the program, he opened his portfolio and shared some of his art with the students. The swarm of youth that approached Mr. Sardar at the end of his speech was a strong testimony to his message and his ability to speak directly to the hearts of at-risk youth.
For more information on Zuhdi Sardar’s art, please visit zuhdisardar.com.
PREVENT HATE’s speakers bureau brings survivors of genocide and severe crimes against humanity to speak to students about overcoming their differences, rejecting violence, and making a productive contribution to society. Our speakers are role models who have been through the worst hellfire, and yet, celebrate life. As is always the case, at the end of the program, we were asked to come back.
“Most people don’t know what human trafficking is, and when you tell them, they say, ‘so what'” — Los Angeles City Councilmember, Tony Cardenas.
During the last year, the homeless in Los Angeles County have been set on fire, stabbed, shot and beaten with baseball bats in attacks. Advocates for the homeless say the incidents have become more violent but until now no one has tracked such crimes countywide.
Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously recommended that sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors and the county Human Relations Commission start tracking and reporting attacks on the homeless as hate crimes. The vote came as the economy worsens and the number of homeless in the county increases — with some shelters seeing four times as many people seeking help this winter.
Advocates for the homeless called the collection of such data a first step in changing policy and laws. They cite several high-profile incidents in the last year as cause for alarm.The supervisors’ move does not change the law, a shift that would be necessary for crimes against the homeless to carry enhanced penalties.
Efforts to add the homeless to the state’s hate crime law have failed in the past.
So far only one city and two states have passed such legislation: Seattle, Maine and Alaska, according to the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit National Coalition for the Homeless.
Local legislation is pending in 10 states and Washington, D.C., coalition officials said.