The FHM Condemns the Attack on the Pulse Nightclub
The Florida Holocaust Museum is dedicated to teaching the members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides. We condemn the attack that murdered 49 innocent people and injured many more, targeted only because of who they were, by a disturbed individual who embraced a twisted hate-filled ideology.
Every day, throughout the state of Florida, The FHM teaches about the consequences of hate; the consequences of not speaking up when we see others marginalized or denigrated. During the Nazi era, homosexuals were persecuted and deemed unfit for the “Aryan community.” Tens of thousands were sent to prison and thousands were murdered in the concentration camps where millions of people, all deemed “unfit,” perished. The Holocaust did not happen simply because of the actions of a madman with twisted ideology. It was allowed to fester and bloom into the horror it was by the inaction and silence of the many.
Today, we cannot not remain silent. A crime against the LGBT community is a crime against all of us. We all have a responsibility speak out against intolerance and ensure the rights of all. To learn more about The FHM’s educational efforts in Florida, please click here.
Remembering AFHA Recipient Christopher Leinonen
The Florida Holocaust Museum’s Anne Frank Humanitarian Award (AFHA) was created out of the ashes of September 11th, conceived as a way to move our community’s eyes and hearts away from the violence that had sprung out of insensible hatred, and to focus on the good that was being done, particularly by our young people. The very first group of award recipients in the spring of 2002 included Christopher Andrew Leinonen, who was one of the many casualties of the terrible hate crime in Orlando.
Christopher’s award nomination, written by his high school’s guidance counselor, describes the way Christopher saw and was moved to action by the everyday struggles of gay and lesbian teenagers; struggles that left many feeling hopeless and silenced, exemplified at the time by a strikingly high suicide rate. Christopher displayed great leadership by starting a chapter of the Gay Straight Alliance at Seminole High School, working with administrators and students to make the GSA a positive presence in the school.
The Anne Frank Humanitarian Award is presented to one Junior in each of the public and private high schools in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota and Manatee counties. The honorees are nominated by their principals, guidance counselors or teachers. The AFHA program recognizes those humanitarian actions that better the lives of others. By “doing the right thing,” recipients hold true to the spirit of Anne Frank who, in the face of hardships, endured and did not abandon her ideals.
If you would like to learn more about The FHM’s Anne Frank Humanitarian Award, please click here.