Transcript of 2023 Awardee David Ronnel Video

2023 Awardee David Ronnel Video


Being Jewish in the south hasn’t always been the easiest thing. I faced antisemitism and hatred for my religion and my heritage. Sometimes people made assumptions about me because they had never really met a Jewish person before, and a lot of times, that was in my school’s walls.

I started to work with local politicians and community leaders to draft a bill that would require Holocaust education in all Arkansas public schools. I had never really experienced what it took to draft and write a bill. There are plenty of people who turned me down, but I just realized that I have to believe in myself and the power of my community to get things done.

For three years, I created a coalition of businesses, nonprofits, interfaith leaders, Republicans, Democrats. To finally see my bill be signed to law by Governor Asa Hutchinson, I was a little emotional because I felt so supported by my community, and now Arkansas is the first state in the deep south that requires Holocaust instruction. Over 300,000 students will be impacted by this. I’m so proud of our ability to overcome hate and create change.