Lindsay Dower, a senior at East Rockaway High School, has been named Upstander of the Month for January 2013 by the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, an education and resource center dedicated to fighting intolerance and bullying through lessons learned from the Holocaust.
The HMTC teaches students about the dangers of antisemitism, prejudice, racism, bullying and all forms of intolerance, focusing on the roles of “bully”, “bystander” and “upstander.”
Dower’s role as an “upstander” was initially fueled by stories she heard from her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. Through them she made the connection between the horrors and abuses of the Holocaust and the racism, hatred and bullying she encounters today.
Dower has gained a reputation for stepping up and speaking out whenever she encounters abuse. She writes articles for her school newspaper, endeavoring to educate and inform her fellow students.
She also volunteers to work with students with autism and founded “Big Buddies”, an organization within her school to promote understanding and connection between mainstream and special needs students. Dower and her friends also have actively reached out to victims of Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown tragedy.
Sarah Cushman, Ph.D., director of youth education at the HMTC, said “Lindsay’s efforts closely parallel those of our Center. She understands that out of tragedy can come lessons about how we treat one another. In fact, Lindsay was one of the people greatly affected by the hurricane, yet her efforts to reach out to others continue unabated.”
Among its many services, the HMTC offers students anti-bullying workshops teaching that bullying—cyber, verbal, social, physical and sexual—can be stopped. They are provided with tools to effectively counter prejudice and harassment along with trained facilitators, activities, and small group discussions to help them reflect upon their roles and choices.
The Center also offers conferences, Holocaust programs and annual competitions focused on issues of social justice, tolerance and respect for diversity, giving students the opportunity to showcase their creative talents.
Since 2007, nearly 210,000 students, teachers, employers and law enforcement personnel have benefitted from HMTC’s programs.
Each month the Center accepts nominations from teachers, civic leaders, family and friends of a Long Island youth that has promoted and exemplified the Center’s mission by advocating respect for all people through intervention or prevention.
To nominate a student for “Upstander of the Month” or learn more, email Dr. Cushman at email@example.com or call 516-571-8040 ext. 106.
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