Laura Bush, Bill Bradley, Marian Wright Edelman and Vernon Jordan Help Launch the 2nd Annual 'Close The Book On Hate' Campaign Co-Sponsored by ADL and Barnes & Noble
Nationwide Campaign Begins A Dialogue with Young Children on Combating Prejudice
Washington, D.C. -- October 11, 2001 - Laura Bush read and talked with third and fourth graders from D.C.'s Benjamin Stoddert Elementary School at the Georgetown Barnes & Noble to help kick off the second annual "Close the Book on Hate" campaign. The campaign is co-sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry, and Barnes & Noble, Inc., the nation's largest bookseller. Mrs. Bush read and discussed with the children Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch.
"One month ago, we experienced hatred in its most extreme form," said the First Lady. "Although the attacks were aimed at destroying our nation's spirit, instead, today Americans of all backgrounds are embracing what makes our nation strong - our diversity. The best time to stop hate is before it starts. I hope every adult will take the time to teach our children to understand and respect others who may be different, and to appreciate and celebrate the things we have in common."
ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman and the president of Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Mike Berry, attended the reading and spoke about the importance of the "Close the Book on Hate" campaign.
"Barnes and Noble is here today to launch an important national campaign with the Anti-Defamation League to help put a stop to hate," said Mike Berry, president of Barnes & Noble Bookstores. "What the campaign is about is doing what we're doing here - children and adults reading and talking to each other about ways to make America and our world a better place."
"As primary influences in children's lives, parents, teachers and caregivers have a unique opportunity to teach young children acceptance and understanding of individuals who may be different," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
The national month-long campaign from October 11th through November 15th, will offer a series of special events at Barnes & Noble stores all across the country. The mission is to educate adults on methods to reduce or prevent the development of prejudiced attitudes in young children through a series of free educational events for children, teens, educators and community leaders. (A full schedule of events is available at Barnes & Noble's corporate site.)
Barnes&Noble.com will also prominently feature the campaign and offer a free online course, "Hate Hurts," at Barnes & Noble University.
On Monday, October 15th, a press conference about the "Close the Book on Hate" campaign was held at the Union Square Barnes & Noble store in New York City. The press conference included children from one of New York's public schools; former Senator Bill Bradley, honorary chairman of the campaign; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund; Vernon Jordan, former head of the National Urban League; and Leonard Riggio, chairman of Barnes & Noble, Inc.
"As a community institution, Barnes & Noble's aim has always been to enrich the local and national intellectual and literary landscapes," said Leonard Riggio, chairman and chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. "In a larger sense, our goal is to foster a greater understanding and tolerance of the diverse world in which we live. Providing materials to teach our children to respect others for who they are and for what they believe is an integral component of our mission."
Former Senator Bill Bradley, a longtime advocate of diversity, is again serving as the honorary chairman for the "Close the Book on Hate" campaign. "Perpetrators of hate crimes and violent acts tend to be young, with the majority of hate crimes committed by people under the age of 20," commented Bradley. "We hope the 'Close the Book on Hate' campaign will serve as a catalyst to encourage parents and caregivers to educate young children and teens about racism through books."
"While our world changed on September 11th, our ability and responsibility to transform the world for good did not," said Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund. "With a renewed sense of urgency we can and must build a world for and with our children in which love triumphs over hate … in which commitment to the common good overcomes extremism … in which tolerance drives out the forces of hate and bigotry … in which justice and peace trump injustice and violence. Together we can build a nation fit for every child - one where no child is left behind or has to live in fear."
A key resource for the program is the ADL's innovative book, Hate Hurts: How Children Learn and Unlearn Prejudice, co-authored by Caryl Stern-LaRosa and Ellen Hofheimer Bettmann (Scholastic Inc., 2000), Hate Hurts explores how to answer difficult questions frequently asked by young people, helps parents and caregivers comfort children who are victims of hate, and offers assistance when working with those who are the perpetrators of intolerance. The book is available for sale at Barnes & Noble stores and on its Web site, Barnes&Noble.com, as well as other retail and online bookstores. A portion of the proceeds will go toward furthering the mission of the Anti-Defamation League.
To further educate parents and teachers on prejudice, Barnes & Noble is distributing a free brochure, Close the Book on Hate: 101 Ways to Combat Prejudice, which contains a recommended reading list of books included in the "Close the Book on Hate" campaign. Brochures can be picked up at all Barnes & Noble stores and downloadable from the ADL website and from the Barnes & Noble website.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.