On Thursday 5 July, the HMDT team held a reception in the House of Commons to launch the theme for HMD 2013. The theme for 2013 is Communities Together: Build a Bridge, encouraging groups and individuals to come together and consider how neighbours have turned on each other, and challenges us to build stronger and more tolerant communities. This is the first time an HMD theme has been launched at a Parliamentary Reception.
During the reception hosted by Louise Ellman MP and Mike Freer MP, a number of survivors including those who had witnessed the atrocities in Rwanda and Bosnia during the 1990s told the guests how important it was that we continue to honour the victims of genocide, but also to learn the lessons of the past and apply them to our communities and lives today.
We were honoured to have the Minister for Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, in attendance, who said:
‘The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2013 asks us all to remember those communities which were destroyed in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides and to build bridges to a better future. Holocaust Memorial Day gives us all an opportunity for reflection on the past and for a personal commitment to create stronger communities. Communities where everyone feels able to take part without fear of discrimination. Communities unafraid to speak out against hate whenever and wherever it occurs.’
Olivia Marks-Woldman, HMDT Chief Executive launched the theme as well as our poetry booklet which contains a collection of original poetry created using the theme for HMD 2012, Speak Up, Speak Out.
‘Holocaust Memorial Day 2012 asked everyone to Speak Up, Speak Out whenever they witness prejudice or injustice in their own communities. Today we launched our poetry booklet of original work inspired by HMD 2012, which can be used in a range of settings. HMD is just one day, but the booklet helps carry the message through the rest of the year.