Robert Trestan, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England (ADL) joined Sen. Eric P. Lesser on his weekly “Lunchtime Livestream” video on June 11.
Sen. Lesser and Trestan discussed the alarming rise in antisemitism and hate crimes in recent years, citing the attempted bombing of Ruth’s House operated by JGS Lifecare Inc. in April of 2020 and the attempted arson at the MLK Community Presbyterian Church in December of 2020. Trestan attributed a fair amount of the rise to social media. “When you see [hateful hashtags] 40,000 times, thousands and thousands of impressions, it does motivate some people to act in violent ways,” he said.
In order to raise awareness, Trestan stressed the need to pass legislation to educate students on genocide, the Holocaust, and its impacts. An Act advancing and promoting genocide education (S.1973), filed by Senate Ways & Means Chair Michael J. Rodrigues, would set up a community trust fund and offer incentives towards public schools providing professional development and curriculums on the history of genocide. “We want to have an educated population that stands up, that has a recognition that this is right, this is wrong,” Trestan explained, “and when something’s wrong, I’m gonna do something about it.”
The video from the livestream can be accessed on Facebook and Twitter.
Main Photo: Senator Lesser and Robert Trestan