Community Development Liaison, ADL-CRC
Seventy-five students from area high schools, middle schools and elementary schools celebrated at the ADL-CRC Plains States Region No Place for Hate® initiative end of the school year rally at Goodwill Benson Gardens recently. For over sixteen years, the ADL’s No Place for Hate® initiative has been recognizing schools for their contributions in creating safe and inclusive school environments through school-wide activities that help to reduce bullying, name-calling and other expressions of bias.
Thirty-nine schools representing Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas participated in the No Place for Hate® movement this year which has inspired over 2,000 schools, nationwide, to combat hate and increase the appreciation for the richness that diversity brings.
During the rally, highlights of the schools’ No Place for Hate® activities were presented and students took part in small-group programming to discuss everyday issues of bias that many of them face.
New to the rally this year was the presentation of the “Fighting Hate for Good” award presented to a community member, educator or stakeholder in education who is a social justice warrior that embodies the principle concepts of No Place for Hate. This year’s recipient is Bret Anderson, retiring principal at Wilson Focus School. Wilson Focus School originally started as the Underwood Hills Focus School and represents the spirit of the learning community with three districts collaborating and being open to all 11 districts. According to Mr. Anderson, “Joining the ADL as a partner was a no-brainer since our concept was to be accepting of all and develop a school that represented the large diversity of our population. The idea was to be a model for what schools can do. We became a “No Place for Hate” school in 2008 and have been going strong since. We have incorporated the pledge into our Lion pledge and being NPFH is engrained into the school. “
This year, the Bucky and Caryl Greenberg No Place for Hate® Scholarship went to two deserving young women. Bucky Greenberg was a committed member of the ADL-CRC board for over 50 years. His generous donation has made it possible to continue his commitment to making the world a better place.
The overall winner and recipient of $500 is Emily Kutler, a senior at Westside High School. In her scholarship application essay, Emily said, “At my school, I have demonstrated a commitment to advocacy for the importance of spreading love and putting an end to hate. It’s something I do so my younger brother can go to school without seeing a swastika etched into his desk. It’s something I do to give a voice to my Muslim friends about the adversity they have faced as a part of a religious minority. It’s a commitment I make everyday when I stop derogatory language overheard in the hallways. I strive to bring the adversity others face to the front of discussion because I know that education is the best way to prevent hate in the future.” Emily plans on attending Tulane University in the fall.
The runner-up and recipient of $250 is Alexus Regnier, a senior at Millard South High School. Alexus became a dedicated member of the school’s Diversity Club, and said in her scholarship application essay, “I never once thought that when I joined Diversity Club that I would gain many amazing friendships and experience so much. Hearing their message about wanting to create a school community where bullying and discrimination are non-existent was inspiring. I wanted to not only change other people’s lives but mine too. I opened my mind to accepting differences and not judging or making assumptions about someone.” Alexus will attend Metropolitan Community College for two years before moving on to a university. She plans on becoming an elementary school teacher.
The ADL-CRC is grateful to the Fred and Eve Simon Foundation for their generous support of No Place for Hate® programming.