Tolerance and Diversity
B'nai B'rith International has a long and distinguished history of promoting tolerance and encouraging diversity. Our actions and advocacy promote these issues in world bodies, including the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Organization of American States. In the United States, tolerance and diversity are key goals of our congressional agenda and educational and community programs.
Advocacy and Action
Through the work of the B'nai B'rith Center for Human Rights and Public Policy, advocacy and action are the hallmarks in promoting tolerance and diversity.
B'nai B'rith, through its Office of United Nations Affairs, participated in the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the United Nations. B'nai B'rith has sponsored its own remembrance program at the United Nations on this day every year. In all its work with the United Nations, B'nai B'rith fights intolerance, anti-Semitism, and hate.
The B'nai B'rith International Office of Intercommunal Affairs is dedicated to advancing B'nai B'rith's achievements in the area of tolerance. These include landmark coalitions for civil rights, innovative inter-group cultural programs, campaigns for religious liberty, and the pursuit of governmental protections against all forms of extremism and bigotry.
At the Organization of American States General Assembly in 2007, B'nai B'rith focused on the passage of the Inter-American Convention Against Discrimination, Racism, and Xenophobia. As a member of the working group on the measure, B'nai B'rith successfully advocated for the inclusion of anti-Semitism as a form of racism.
Remembrance and Education
Through B'nai B'rith's Center for Community Action, B'nai B'rith has brought the message of understanding and respect for others to communities.
The Center focuses on Holocaust remembrance and education. Since 1989, on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust remembrance day, B'nai B'rith holds Unto Every Person There Is a Name ceremonies around the United States and the world, in cooperation with Yad Vashem. Participants read aloud the names of victims, including when they were born and when they died in concentration camps. Often whole families are read one after another, reminding us of the loss of generations of Jews. B'nai B'rith sponsors Holocaust education essay contests around the world.
B'nai B'rith also supports tolerance and diversity education through the Enlighten America program, the centerpiece of which is a pledge that individuals can take to refrain from using slang expressions or telling jokes based on race, sexual orientation, gender, nationality or physical or mental challenges that would serve to demean another.
We have recently added a new project to reach high school students. By sponsoring the Diverse Minds Youth Writing Challenge we ask high-schoolers to create a children's book dedicated to the message of ending intolerance and bigotry. This has been held in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York City, and will continue in these locations with the addition of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Minneapolis. Winners earn college scholarships and the publication and distribution of their books to schools and libraries in their communities.
B’nai B’rith also produces and distributes “Smarter Kids - Safer Kids,” a booklet in both English and Spanish meant to guide parents through discussions with their children about potential dangers.