Statement from Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris on Reports of Newport-Mesa Students Saluting a Swastika

Monday, March 4, 2019

SACRAMENTO — Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach), released the following statement regarding social media postings involving students who displayed anti-Semitic symbols:

“I am heartsick and disturbed seeing kids in our community engage in anti-Semitism. I find the casualness of their bigotry and hate particularly concerning. This is not normal and we can’t turn a blind eye. We must do a better job educating our kids—there is no room in our society for hate.

“The tenor of the rhetoric at the national level is negatively influencing all of us, and especially our children. We’ve seen a rise in white nationalism across our country and we clearly need to spend more time educating our kids so we as a society don’t repeat mistakes from our past.

“We must remember that the Holocaust didn’t start with the gas chambers. It started with the display of hate speech and hate symbols. We say ‘never again’ and ‘never forget’, but reports indicate that two-thirds of millennials don’t know what Auschwitz was. We have a moral obligation to teach our children about this history and the dangers of indifference to human suffering. 

“I condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and racism and I’m convening an Interfaith Town Hall on March 30 to cultivate a safe, peaceful, respectful and inclusive community for all. I encourage parents and students to attend this Town Hall and the community meetings hosted by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

“So many students expressed shock and horror at this incident, and I commend the School Boardmembers and Principals for bringing crisis counselors and the Anti-Defamation League to the students today. I will work closely with our schools, community leaders and the California Department of Education to bring resources and tools directly to our children to promote tolerance and understanding.”

Interfaith Town Hall

On Saturday March 30, 2019 from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris will convene an Interfaith Town Hall at the Christ Our Redeemer AME Church (45 Tesla, Irvine, CA 92618). Please join community leaders for a conversation about how we can come together to battle hate and foster respect. Orange County Interfaith Network and OC Human Relations are co-hosting the event. Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris is proud to bring this interfaith conversation together to find common ground, build empathy, and promote respect and understanding. Please bring your friends and family and come ready to engage in a conversation about how we can work together to nurture positivity in our community.

Panel

Lisa Armony – Director, Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services
Farrah Khan – Executive Director, Newport - Costa Mesa - Irvine Interfaith Council
Rev. Mark Whitlock  –  Senior Pastor, Christ Our Redeemer AME Church
Laura Kanter – Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Youth Programs LGBTQ Center

Community Meetings

Newport-Mesa Unified School District is partnering with local community groups and has announced two community meetings for parents and students to discuss this issue:

  • Monday, March 4 at 6:00 p.m. at Newport Harbor High School  
  • Thursday, March 7 at 6:00 p.m. at Corona del Mar High School

Resources

###

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris is a Yale-educated mother and businesswoman representing the 74th Assembly District, which encompasses the communities of Irvine, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and Laguna Woods. She chairs the Assembly's Accountability and Administrative Review Committee and the Select Committee on Student Debt.

CONTACT: (916) 319-2074