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Ending Genocide with Empathy

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Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from his/her position. It’s the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. As Ashoka’s Start Empathy school curriculum describes, “[E]mpathizing with the feelings and perspectives of others is the foundation for good communication, teamwork, and strong leadership—no matter what path” someone will take. Empathy allows us the opportunity to be more effective changemakers, folding in the perspectives and experiences of others not only into decisions as leaders but also into our everyday moments.

Albeit not the only tool needed, by offering space for individuals to develop compassion and empathy—from a young age and into adulthood—we can end genocide and mass atrocities. When we see an identity-based hate crime committed against just one person in our community, we are outraged. We are heartbroken. We demand change.

This is why iACT has created the Dr. Elliot Salloway Fund for Empathy. A fund that celebrates and honors our shared commitment towards ending and preventing mass atrocities and ensures iACT’s empathy-based programs thrive.

My Jewish religion has taught me an important concept on life behavior. One of the three pillars of Judaism is the concept of Gemilut Chasidim which translates to “Acts of Loving Kindness.” This prescription for behavior teaches me not only the obligation of giving monetary support to the poor and needy, but to also take on the responsibility of involvement in performing “acts of loving kindness” such as visiting the sick, burying the dead, and even providing support for a bride who has no family. These are person-to-person human and temporal actions, not because they are commanded by God, but because from a human-to-human relationship develops a respect and dignity for others. Such respect ennobles each person as a creation of God. Any harm to your fellow man is not only a destruction of God but a strike against your brother, your family. If the world could be taught such a feeling of relationship, then genocide could be unthinkable. From the protection and respect for each man comes a respect for the whole human race. I have tried to live my life with this principle. -Dr. Elliot Salloway

Genocide is the world’s worst hate crime. It’s targeted violence against an individual and community because of t