#6MILLIONSTEPS: Remember Holocaust, spotlight rising American antisemitism

#6MillionSteps, which is dedicated to the one and a half million children who perished in the Holocaust, launched on Sunday.

 Walk-run in Los Angeles, April 3, 2022.  (photo credit: JEFFREY SHALMONI)
Walk-run in Los Angeles, April 3, 2022.
(photo credit: JEFFREY SHALMONI)

From the Rocky steps at Philadelphia’s Museum of Art to the Holocaust Museum LA, people from coast to coast will be running and walking this month to remember the Holocaust and spotlight rising antisemitism as part of the Israeli-American Council’s (IAC) #6MillionSteps campaign.

The campaign, which is dedicated to the one-and-a-half million children who perished in the Holocaust, launched Sunday with a walk/run in Los Angeles that started at the Holocaust Museum LA and went through Pan Pacific Park. The start of #6MillionSteps will coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 28, and conclude in early May.

After an outpouring of support for the inaugural 2021 campaign, when participants quickly exceeded the six million steps goal and reached 22 million steps, the IAC this year raised the bar by challenging individual communities across the country to walk or run six million steps.

This year’s #6MillionSteps campaign creates multiple paths for people to participate, including by connecting their Fitbit, Garmin or other fitness trackers to the digital campaign, adding a #6MillionSteps filter to their social media, and manually counting total steps while walking, running or exercising. Individuals, schools, communal institutions and businesses will be invited to organize and host their own events or join others nationwide.

The campaign will also offer a class on removing antisemitic content and Holocaust denial from the Internet, resources on the Holocaust’s child victims, and courses for students and educators through IAC’s Ofek Learning Hub.

 Walk-run in Los Angeles, April 3, 2022. (credit: JEFFREY SHALMONI) Walk-run in Los Angeles, April 3, 2022. (credit: JEFFREY SHALMONI)

The courses are part of a new partnership Ofek announced this week with the Holocaust Museum LA, Israel’s Yad Vashem and Ghetto Fighters House. Its goal is to make Holocaust learning and teacher training more accessible, since only 26 US states mandate some form of public Holocaust education.

Ofek will offer a virtual tour of the Holocaust Museum LA, the first US Holocaust museum founded by survivors. The organization will also special courses including a creative writing class for elementary and middle school students called “The Shoah Diaries”; an advanced, critical study of word choice and responsibility for high school students, “Voices from the Holocaust II”; and an adult-level course, “Violins of Hope.”

IAC co-founder and CEO Shoham Nicolet said, “At a time when our nation is experiencing a deeply alarming rise in antisemitism, from attacks on synagogues and individuals to distortions of the Holocaust in the public sphere, we will come together through #6MillionSteps to remember the Holocaust and to raise our voice against anti-Jewish hatred.”