As the founder of Gedenk, the not-for-profit established in 2006 to promote awareness about how ignorance, bigotry and hatred have and can ultimately result in genocide, even in a civilized society, Ben-Ari is encouraging young people to engage in arts and writing to prevent the growing trend of the game “Knockout.”
According to Ms. Ben-Ari, currently CEO of Gedenk, “It’s not easy to encourage young people to learn about atrocities such as the Holocaust, but this unique and creative approach can engage the young generation not to become bystanders when it comes to hate acts and brutality based on racism. I urge the global community to promote tolerance and prevent the growing trend of the knockout games.”
Ben-Ari has teamed up with the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to create the Gedenk Award for Tolerance as part of the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Five national Scholastic Award recipients will be selected to receive the special award, which includes $1,000, for their original work of writing or art.
According to Ben-Ari “The Jewish Holocaust began with commonplace acts – simple acts of intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry between neighbors, such as those that many of us are used to seeing and ignoring every day; What we are seeing with the Knockout game is intolerance at a disturbing level.”
Gedenk strives to empower young people, giving them the tools to stand up for themselves, their peers and their community against intolerance of all kinds. The goal is to encourage young people to use literary and artistic outlets for self-expression while considering their roles in creating a more tolerant world. Students are asked to create original written pieces or works of art that reflect upon the lessons learned from the Holocaust and other genocides and attempt to raise awareness of the importance of increasing tolerance to safeguard a peaceful society.
Recently, Miri Ben-Ari for the first time talked about how music helped her break her silence by sharing her personal story with the Huffington Post here:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miri-benari/music-and-the-third-metric_b_4173197.html.
Coinciding with the Scholastic Awards campaign, Gedenk is celebrating the launch of their newly designed website, GedenkMovement.org. The site is a hub of information and a nexus for young people to explore the themes of Gedenk’s mission of tolerance. The site will feature forums, blogs, video content, and interactive dialogue that encourage visitors to become a supportive community and share how they have fought back against intolerance. Gedenk is a word that means, “remember” in Yiddish. In that spirit, site visitors can contribute to the virtual memorial by adding a name and message in honor of anyone who endured a form of genocide.
About Miri Ben-Ari, a Grammy Award-Winning violinist/producer, originally from Israel, has helped sell millions of records by collaborating with other Grammy award-winning artists such as Kanye West, Jay Z, Wyclef Jean, Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, Donna Summer, Janet Jackson and Armin Van Buuren. Her Universal Record Self Titled Album features many of these collaborations. Ben-Ari has been the face of many promotional campaigns, including; Reebok‘s “I Am What I Am” global print and TV advertisements, Vodafone, Pepsi , Coca-Cola and now Harman Kardon(products include headphones and home theatre systems). Miri Ben-Ari is the founder and chairman of “Gedenk”and a “Goodwill Ambassador of Music” at the United Nations. Her yet to be titled forthcoming album will be released in 2014. For more information about Miri Ben-Ari visit: www.miribenari.com.
For more information on Gedenk or how students can submit their work for the Gedenk Tolerance Award visit: Gedenkmovement.org
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