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White Rose Memorial commemorates Jewish community in recent attack

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White Rose Memorial commemorates Jewish community in recent attack

CSUSM president Haynes speaks to the crowd at the white rose memorial on May 1.

CSUSM president Haynes speaks to the crowd at the white rose memorial on May 1.

Photo by Krystina Andrade

CSUSM president Haynes speaks to the crowd at the white rose memorial on May 1.

Photo by Krystina Andrade

Photo by Krystina Andrade

CSUSM president Haynes speaks to the crowd at the white rose memorial on May 1.

Citlally Arroyo, News Editor

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Students, faculty and the public gathered at the Forum Plaza on the eve of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) for the rededication ceremony of the White Rose Memorial on campus.  


The memorial honors a group of German students from the University of Munich, known as the White Rose Society, who secretly wrote and distributed pamphlets denouncing the Nazi Regime from 1942 to 1943. The students were caught and after being tried, some were executed in 1943.


Following the recent fatal shooting on Saturday, April 27 at Chabad of Poway, the ceremony gave the campus community the opportunity to come together and honor the victims affected by the tragic event.


Hilary Taylor, President of the Jewish Faculty Staff-Association said that “it would be wrong not to acknowledge last Saturday’s horrific shooting at Chabad of Poway and not to call out all crimes of hate.”


In 2003, Cynthia Joseph, a human development student, designed the memorial, an interactive art installation located next to the Arts Building. Joseph was inspired by a class taught by Andrea Liss, professor of art, media and design in the School of Arts.


The rededication of the White Rose Memorial was a collaborative effort by the Jewish Faculty Staff-Association, Visual and Performing Arts and the Office of Inclusive Excellence.


Last fall, the Jewish Faculty-Staff Association began to plan the restoration and ceremony. Members of the association led a fundraising effort during CSUSM Giving Day to raise money to restore and revitalize the memorial.


Before the ceremony began, Taylor asked the attendees to join in a moment of silence “to support all who are unjustly punished by hate and fear.”


Several speakers were invited to the ceremony and talked about the importance of the White Rose Memorial and standing in solidarity against hate and anti-Semitism.  


President Karen Haynes opened the ceremony by saying, “I am honored to have been asked to speak at the rededication of the White Rose Memorial as we acknowledge and remember the courageous college students who were executed for voicing their opposition to the atrocities of the Nazis during World War II.”


She said that the White Rose Memorial and its rededication “are representative of the University’s commitment to equity, justice and inclusion.”


Addressing the Chabad of Poway shooting she said, “Like all of you, I was dismayed and sickened to learn that the alleged shooter was a CSUSM student.”


“In trying to find some comfort in this difficult time, it has been reassuring to see how our campus has come together in solidarity in support of the victims, their families, friends in the entire community,” Haynes said.


She said that although the students from the White Rose Movement, were executed, their bravery has not been forgotten and that the bravery of Lori Gilbert Kaye who died “putting herself in harm’s way to protect rabbi Goldstein” during the shooting will not be forgotten either.


Dr. Joe-Joe McManus, chief diversity officer and associate vice president of the Office of Inclusive Excellence, the second speaker at the ceremony said, “As a Jew, I can’t express how much this means to me.”


In the spirit of taking collective action, Dr. McManus encouraged the campus community and public to perform a mitzvah, or good deed, regardless of how big or little.


“We offer this in remembrance of The White Rose, in celebration of our sister Lori Kaye and in love for all who’ve been affected by the shooting at the Chabad in Poway. Through our words and deeds, I hope we will not be silenced,” he said.  


After Professor Liss gave her speech, one by one, the guest speakers watered the rose, which according to Liss is named Courage.  


At the end of the ceremony, Taylor asked the campus community not to water the rose for that day as it had been watered several times, but to “water it five years from now, keep it alive. Take action, not just today, not just while it’s in the news. Everything we can do to nurture love and negate hate can happen if we take action.”

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