PORTLAND, Ore.–Governor Kate Brown visited the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education in downtown Portland July 15 for the ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 664. The bill will require school districts across Oregon to provide instruction about the Holocaust and genocide in social studies classes, starting in the 2020-21 school year.The bill was unanimously passed in a final vote by legislators May 28, and signed by Governor Brown on June 6. The ceremonial signing will bring together supporters of the bill, including Holocaust survivors, Jewish community leaders, and Lake Oswego’s own Senator Rob Wagner and Lakeridge freshman Claire Sarnowski.
The idea for Senate Bill 664 was brought forth by Sarnowski, and was inspired by her close friendship with late Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener, of Hillsboro. Sarnowski reached out to Wagner for help in crafting the legislation.Unfortunately, Wiener was not able to see the historic bill become law; he was struck and killed by a car in Hillsboro December 11.
“Although Alter sadly wasn’t here with us, I know he would be proud of today’s result. I am honored and proud to be part of this history,” Sarnowski said May 28. “This is a huge win, impacting the lives of students across Oregon. It has been beyond exciting getting this legislation across the finish line. It was an unforgettable experience for me.”