Don’t Stand By – Rotherham marks Holocaust Memorial DayPublished Thursday, 4th February 2016
People of all ages and all walks of life gathered in Rotherham last Wednesday to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2016.
Around 200 people attended a moving ceremony, in All Saints Square, which was hosted by the Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Maggi Clark.
Young people from Oakwood High School and St Ann’s Junior and Infant School took part in the event with readings and songs, while youth worker Nic Harding, performed a song of her own composition and 16-year-old Tom Jackson, a Youth Cabinet Member, read a poem entitled 'First They Came' by Pastor Martin Niemoller.
Also taking part in the event were The Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Andrew Coombe; South Yorkshire's High Sheriff, John Holt; Rotherham Council Leader, Cllr Chris Read, and the Council’s Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Caven Vines, who read their own pledges on the theme of “don’t stand by” – which were later hung on a symbolic "message tree".
At the end of the ceremony, members of the public were also invited to add their own messages to the trees, which are now on display at Riverside House reception and Rotherham Town Hall.
The Mayor of Rotherham, Cllr Maggi Clark, said: “Although the weather was not kind to us on the day, it was wonderful to see so many people take time out of their day to join us in All Saints Square.
"It was an extremely moving occasion, particularly when young people from our local schools read out quotes and poems from Holocaust survivors.
"Thank you to everyone who came along and took part."
Members of the public are welcome to add their own messages to the message trees in Riverside House and the Town Hall.
Messages left on the day included:
I won’t stand by or turn away; I will challenge discrimination and hatred - Cllr Maggi Clark, Mayor of Rotherham
I won’t stand by; I will stand up to hatred and bigotry -Peter Clark, Mayor’s Consort
I won't stand by and let communities be torn apart by differing cultures and religions - The Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Mr Andrew Coombe
I won't stand by and let prejudice divide families - Mrs Sue Coombe
I won’t stand by and let the lessons and history from Auschwitz be diminished by time and fading memories. Each of us can do something to fight intolerance and hate - The High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, Mr John Holt
I won’t stand by and pretend it didn’t happen, nor ignore your sorrow. We continue to feel your pain - Mrs Lynn Holt
I won't stand by. I'll bring people together - Cllr Chris Read, Leader of the Council
Openness, transparency and justice for all - Cllr Caven Vines, Leader of the Opposition
I will not stand by…. I will pro-actively use the learning from my past to work with others to create a better future - Sharon Kemp, Chief Executive
I won’t stand by while people make negative comments about particular groups, thinking they are making a joke - Stella Manzie, Former Commissioner and Managing Director at Rotherham
I won’t stand by. I will not stand by and let disabled people face discrimination. I will stand up to the intolerance of other people’s sexualities - Tom Jackson, Rotherham Youth Cabinet