Illinois State Legislature considers new genocide curriculum bill
Ukrainian Weekly, March 13, 2005  Page 10

Katya Mischenko-Mycyk

Chicago, IL -   The Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation – USA (UGFF-USA) urges all Illinois Ukrainian-Americans to write their State Legislators in support of
Illinois House Bill 312.  If passed, House Bill 312, would mandate all public elementary and secondary schools in Illinois to teach about the genocides which occurred in
Armenia, Ukraine, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Sudan in addition to the already mandated study of the Holocaust.  This bill amends a current law in Illinois which
only requires state public schools to teach students about the Holocaust.

“This long overdue legislation will help us ensure that our students learn of the devastating role that genocide has played around the world throughout history, and
unfortunately, in current times”, said State Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago) who is the Sponsor of House Bill 312.  “It is only through this type of education that
we can work to erase the type of global indifference that allowed the tragedy in Ukraine to occur and the apathy that exists today with respect to the genocide happening
in Africa.  We must value all human lives equally.”

On September 21, 2003 Representative John Froehlich (R-Schaumburg) was the only Illinois public official to accept an invitation from the UGFF-USA to participate in  
70th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933 commemoration at the Ukrainian Genocide Monument in Bloomingdale, IL.  During his speech,
Representative Froehlich pledged to work on behalf of the Ukrainian American community to see to it that Illinois schools are required to teach students about the
Ukrainian Genocide Famine of 1932-33.  Keeping to his word, less than a year and a half later, Representative Froehlich is the Chief Co-Sponsor of House Bill 312.

The UGFF-USA commends both Representatives Fritchey and Froehlich for their commitment to widening awareness of the over 10 million victims of the Ukrainian
Genocide of 1932-1933, but also to calling attention to other ethnic groups which have suffered from a similar history of ethnic hatred and genocide.  The process of
making House Bill 312 a law in Illinois is far from over.  The Ukrainian American community in Illinois must convey to the Legislature the importance of including the
Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933 in public school curriculums.

House Bill 312 is in the early stages of the Legislative cycle.  All bills must be read by title on three different days in each chamber (House/Senate) before being passed.  
After the first reading the bill is assigned to a committee and a hearing takes place.  If the committee approves the bill after the hearing then it proceeds onto the second
reading and third reading before a vote is taken.  

House Bill 312 cleared the hearing in the Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education on February 9, 2005.  Committee members voted 13-8 in favor of House
Bill 312.  Testimony opposing House Bill 312 was delivered by Deanna Sullivan of the Illinois Association of School Boards.  Representatives of the UGFF-USA were
present at the hearing and submitted both written and oral testimony to the Committee.  Chairperson Katya Mischenko-Mycyk delivered oral testimony on behalf of the
UGFF-USA in support of House Bill 312.  In her testimony she presented the Committee a brief history of Stalin’s policy for liquidating Ukrainian kulaks as a class and
how that led up to the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933.  

“Many historians believe that Stalin’s ability to carry out the Genocide in Ukraine while concealing it from the rest of the world encouraged Hitler to commence his
extermination of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Slavs and others in what is known as the Holocaust”  stated Mrs. Mischenko-Mycyk during her testimony.  

Committee members who voted “No” were: Suzanne Bassi (R),  Roger L. Eddy (R),   Jerry L. Mitchell (R),   Donald L. Moffit (R),   Sandra M. Pihos (R),   Robert W.
Prichard (R),   David Reis (R), and  Jim Watson (R).  Of particular concern to the UGFF-USA is that Representative Bassi, who represents District 54, voted “No” on
the bill.  CYM American Ukrainian Youth Association’s Palatine Branch, which houses a Ukrainian Saturday school, a Ukrainian School of Dance, and is home to CYM
cultural and scouting activities lies within Representative Bassi’s legislative district.

A number of the Representatives who voted against House Bill 312 asked the forgiveness of their negative vote on the Bill from Representative Fritchey and the ethnic
communities that have experienced genocide. A few, including Representative Watson, explained that their opposition centered around their concern for the number of
mandates already placed on Illinois teachers and current budget shortfalls, and not a rejection of the importance of the genocides included in House Bill 312.  

In light of State Department of Education budget shortfalls, the UGFF-USA is prepared to provide Illinois teachers with curriculum and resource guides of no charge.  In
addition, through the work of Professor Myron Kuropas, the UGFF is pleased to announce a 1 graduate credit seminar accredited by Northern Illinois University on the
teaching of the Ukrainian Genocide.  This 2-day seminar for Illinois teachers will be held at the Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago on April 1-2, 2005 and will be
lead by Professor Kuropas.  Teachers registered for this seminar will receive a curriculum guide, a textbook, a video on the Ukrainian Genocide and a luncheon.  For
further information on how to register and tuition fees for this program please contact Nicholas Mischenko at (847) 699-9484 or

On March 1, 2005, House Bill 312 was read a third time in the Illinois House and a final vote called.  The Illinois House of Representatives passed the Bill by a vote of
96 in favor to 11 against with 7 abstaining.  Representatives voting against the Bill in the final House vote were Suzanne Bassi (R), Mark H. Beaubien Jr. (R), William B.
Black (R), Joe Dunn (R), Renee Kosel (R), Eileen Lyons (R), Jerry L. Mitchell (R), Donald L. Moffitt (R), Richard P. Myers (R), Ed Sullivan Jr. (R), and Jim Watson

The Bill has now been placed on the Illinois Senate calendar for a first reading on March 3, 2005.  It is imperative that the Illinois Ukrainian-American community rally
together once again and write their Illinois State Senators in support of House Bill 312.  We must continue to be the voice of the over 10,000,000 victims of the
Ukrainian Genocide whose voices the Soviets attempted to silence in 1932-1933.
Designed and maintained by
UGFF - USA, Inc.  ©2008
Illinois Senate President
327 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL   62706  

Senator Kimberly A. Lightford
Chairperson – Senate
Education Committee
M114 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL  62706

Senator Frank C. Watson
Illinois Senate Minority Leader
309A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL   62706