Racism and genocide class visit Holocaust Memorial in D.C.


Stephanie Colinders

On Thursday, Feb. 23, students from the Racism and Genocide class elective went on an all-day field trip to Washington D.C. Upon arrival, students visited the infamous United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The USHMM was founded in 1980, and is the U.S’s official memorial to the Holocaust. This museum preserves the memory of the Holocaust by providing valuable historical information to all who enter.
Students were given the liberty of venturing on a self-guided tour throughout the two floors of exhibitions. The information was presented in chronological order to allow each visitor to seamlessly follow along the timeline of events almost as if they were witnessing it firsthand.
Although students already knew most of the information before walking into the museum – courtesy of the racism and genocide class – this education method was vastly different from that of a classroom.
“It gives you a somewhat more realistic experience,” junior Melanny Velez said. “Seeing these things in person.”
This was achieved through a variety of clips, images, and artifacts/replicas helped the students further understand and indulge in the experience. There were even audio recordings of testimonials from Holocaust victims reflecting on their experiences.
“[My favorite part] was looking at all the framed photographs,” Velez said.
Perhaps there’s some truth to the saying that one picture is worth a thousand words. Each black and white image that covered the museum walls told a story– a story that will hopefully reside with each and every student for a long time.
The students and chaperones left the USHMM in a somber mood. For the hour that followed, the group walked down the street where they were able to see America’s most visited national park, the National Mall.
More specifically, time was spent around the monuments and memorial units; some students took pictures, others walked around, while a few opted to just sit down and take it all in. While the actions of each person may have differed, their appreciation and admiration was the same.
The students and staff of SPFHS were fortunate enough to be granted such a unique opportunity. This experience was an eye-opener for everyone, and helped bring the unforgiving reality of genocides to surface.