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Honoring Those Who Fight Against Hate

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We see it in the news every day. Stories of brutality, incidents motivated by religious or racial bias, hate crimes. How to confront it?

The David Labkovski Project (DLP), based in West Hills, is a non profit which seeks to combat antisemitism by teaching students about the Holocaust through art. Over the years they have reached over 5,000 students with their programs.

The project’s unique educational program, fusing history and art, is based on the life and art of renowned artist, David Labkovski (1906-1991). By engaging viewers with his paintings and sketches, the David Labkovski Project shares lessons of life, survival, tolerance, acceptance, and the importance of bearing witness to history. 

The DLP uses the body of over 400 pieces of artwork created in pencil, acrylic, and gouache to educate about life before, during, and after the Holocaust. 

At the Project’s 8th Annual Scholar’s Event on March 17 at Skirball Center, they will honor Angelenos for, as founder Leora Raikin says, “their leadership and bravery in confronting a world in which increased antisemitism and hatred exists.”

The DLP’s 2024 Legacy of Hope Honoree, Avlyn Kotton is a Board-Certified Educational Therapist and the director of the Kotton Educational Therapy Center in Malibu where she works with students who have learning differences. Avlyn has been a board member of the David Labkovski Project since its inception in 2015 and is committed to its mission of advancing knowledge about the Holocaust through the use of the artwork of Holocaust survivor David Labkovski.

The impressive honorees for the Courage to Educate Award include Kathleen Sterling, Publisher of  Valley News Group. Sterling has supported DLP through her writing and sharing of articles about DLP’s Holocaust education programs and was part of the DLP Holocaust Commemoration Program in 2022. She is committed to educating people on the dangers of antisemitism and proactively shares DLP’s approach through exhibits and educational programs through her newspapers. Sterling  reports on incidents of hate and highlights the dangers it poses to the community. She is an award-winning journalist and publisher of five community weeklies in the west San Fernando Valley – Warner Center News, Valley Vantage, Calabasas Enterprise, Encino Enterprise and North Valley News. She is an active community member and has sat on the boards of the Valley Cultural Center, Louisville High School, Pacific Lodge Boys Home, Calabasas Chamber of Commerce, the Heart Run & Walk and American Heart Association.

Capital Group embodies how corporations should approach educating and empowering their employees to practice inclusion and tolerance in the workplace. Through their CG Chaverim and CG Arts communities, they have supported DLP’s mission of bearing witness to history and using art to break down barriers and begin difficult conversations. 

Receiving the Courage to Educate Award on behalf of Capital Group CG Haverim and CG Art will be Annie Soleymani, Mark Reiser, Julie McArthur, Darryl Pugh, Effie Braun Nathan Issacs.The Courage to Educate Award Recognizes individuals and companies who exemplify leadership in proactively educating and engaging audiences in creating awareness of the dangers of antisemitism while educating about Jewish history and the Holocaust through David Labkovski Project.

 Dr. Marilyn Harran from Chapman University is being honored with the Leadership in Holocaust Education Award. MHarran is professor of Religious Studies and of History, holder of the Stern Chair in Holocaust Education, and the founding director of the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education and the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library at Chapman University. Dr. Harran has worked with administrators, colleagues, and supporters to establish a multi-faceted program in Holocaust history and education with academic minor, distinguished lecture series, an archive containing the world’s largest collection of materials on rescuer Oskar Schindler, and community outreach, including a Holocaust Art and Writing Contest that each year engages some 7,000 middle and high school students in more than 32 states and 10 countries. 

The Ellie Lainer Youth Leadership in Holocaust Education is being awarded to students Sophie Small from De Toledo High School and Katia Lysobey from Moorpark High School who have been involved in bringing the DLP program to their peers and community.

These honorees are exceptionally worthy of being recognized, shared Leora Raikin, founder and Executive Director of the DLP. They understand the DLP’s unique approach to educating and that through Labkovski’s artwork, history becomes accessible not through statistics but through one person’s lens of what it was like to live through difficult times.

At this year’s annual DLP Scholar’s Event March 17 at the Skirball, the exhibit “Documenting History through Art’’ will be featured and guided by DLP student docents. There will also be a screening of the Telly Award winning film Healing through Art, produced by Darryl Pugh and sponsored by Capital Group. They will be recognized at the event for their leadership and bravery in confronting a world in which increased antisemitism and hatred exists.

Tickets for the event are $180 per person and are on sale at davidlabkovskiproject.org. Sponsorships and tributes in the program are still available. For more information call Debra Levine at (818) 271-1307.


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Valley News Group
Happy #fivepaperfriday! In this week's cover story, we highlight the importance of community coming together to give back to their neighborhood. Plus, as always, local entertainment, health, business stories and more! Read it all at ValleyNewsGroup.com #LocalNews ... See MoreSee Less
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