My name is Jasmine Infante and I am a student at the University of St. Thomas majoring in communication and minoring in marketing. I wanted to give a huge thank you to the Holocaust Remembrance Association for the scholarship I have received. I was told about this scholarship by my advisor, Dr. Bornigia and I researched it after speaking with her. I never knew about this association until she introduced it to me and I hope to attend a live event next year. Even though the events were held online due to Covid-19, it was still an enlightening experience. I feel like I not only learned about the struggles that affect generations of people, but I learned more about myself in the process, too. This scholarship will help me financially to achieve my academic goals, but it will also help me achieve my future goals. I have always used my voice and my social media to help advocate for nonprofits fighting against human trafficking, such as Elijah Rising. This experience illuminated a passion within me to broaden the audience I advocate for.
It is unfortunate that the March of Remembrance events were cancelled because of the current times. Fortunately, the Holocaust Remembrance Association was quick to adapt and produced what was a joy to watch, Hope in the Face of Total Loss. Listening to Alex Pollak’s success despite the horrible losses that World War II brought was a sobering reminder that the difficulty of the past should not handicap our future potential. And a particular highlight was Rabbi Don Gordon’s wisdom filled story of elbowless people in heaven and hell. The parable’s instruction tells of the reality of the brokenness of all human beings, yet that brokenness becomes a heaven when humans begin to aid each other.
“This march is about encouraging all of you to pass it on to your families and your friends, to rise up and not be bystanders. Is that okay?” March of Remembrance director Rozalie Jerome, and the applause following her every point, indicate that spiritually just political action is, for many, a critical component of honoring Holocaust survivors and victims. Confronting the brutality of the Holocaust offers an avenue for Jews, Christians, and all others to take a particularist approach to racial, ethnic, and religious violence. As opposed to universalism, which sameifies “all sides” in the name of closure and moving on, Jennifer Harvey writes that a particularist ethic can take into account distinctions in social position. It can thus “ascertain the different work required of differently racialized groups in the context of white supremacy.”
The privilege to have been able to see Holocaust survivors, German Nazis descendants reconcile is history in the making itself. Seeing this unfold was captivating. Till this day my generation and future generation will never comprehend how such atrocities took place as the world watched. Watching the German descendants of Nazis with Holocaust survivors and descendants reconcile with tears and long embraces was emotional and powerful to me. This was something that I was not prepared to watch, and it showed as tears started to roll down my face. As a Marine of 20yrs of services I have seen my share of injustice and atrocities in my 3 deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, but not even those combat tours could have prepared me for the stories I would hear as I watched Hope in the face of Isolation. Seeing and listening to what the Holocaust survivors had to endure made me mad and helpless at the same time.
Thank you so much for organizing the Holocaust Remembrance event and for giving myself and others the opportunity to be awarded a scholarship. The Holocaust March event reminded me of the importance of hope in times of isolation, and the importance of doing the right thing and helping others even when it may be difficult to do; it also served as a good reminder that we are not living soley for ourselves because we are all connected. I am very grateful to have been accepted for the award. This scholarship really helped my family with paying for my classes for the next two semesters and helped to alleviate some of our stress so I’m very thankful for that.