After the Spring Break holiday and Cesar Chavez Day, the CCS staff reconvened and reconnected by taking a field trip to Los Angeles' Museum of Tolerance on our Professional Development Day.
After a brief light lunch, all the CCS teachers and specialists with a few administrators thrown in, met at this renown museum commemorating the Holocaust. Most of us had been here at least once, but this visit was special in part because our docent was our very own Kenya Harris who is familiar face at CCS as a valued substitute teacher. She volunteers as a docent at the Museum and this connection made our tour customizable and intimate.
We began by listening to a 90-year old Holocaust survivor. She told her story of being born in Germany, turned in by a neighbor to the SS and ultimately of being moved between 4 different concentration camps with her sister before they was finally liberated from Bergen-Belsen by British and Canadian troops. After the war ended, it took years before they ultimately re-settled in New York keeping close to other Holocaust survivors who created a community with each other as their relatives had all been killed. Her composure and honesty were moving.
The next stop on our tour included the museum's ground floor chronological exhibit: a historical, political, chronological and sociological explanation of the Holocaust. Individual experiences and stories are interwoven with the historical perspective to keep the visitor from disengaging from the story's implications on the individual's behavior and its effect on history.
The CCS mission of education for democracy is rooted in an understanding of each person's responsibility to the citizenry as a whole. This field trip helped reconnect us to the fundamental work we do with children every day.