The California Holocaust Education & Resource Center (CHERC) has some very good news! We have continued to receive numerous boxes of buttons from all over the United States and are now estimating our number of buttons received at 5,200,000. Our goal of 6 million buttons which are needed to build the Holocaust Button Memorial is within reach. First a bit of history: We began as a non-profit approximately 9 years ago. Our mission is to prevent a repetition of the Holocaust in Europe in WWI and other genocides that have murdered so many millions of various peoples. We seek to raise knowledge and awareness and strengthen prevention through education about discrimination, persecution, and violence which can become systematic if left unchecked. Accessing the arts, CHERC has brought theater performances, traveling museum exhibits, film series, and still living Holocaust speakers to Visalia and the Central Valley. We have put together 3 traveling educational trunks for elementary, middle school, and high school students that we have available to loan to schools, religious institutions, and civic organizations at no cost. We provide a local speaker to your location and organization. Through education, public outreach, and internet communication we have been the fortunate recipient of boxes upon boxes of buttons. We are extremely grateful for this help to create a Holocaust Memorial out of buttons to further this important educational destination here in the Central Valley. In particular and due to the internet and Facebook, I became aware of certain groups throughout the United States that buy, sell, trade, display, and study buttons. These button groups are to be found in every state and in most cities and towns. In fact, each state has a State Button Society that meets to host conventions in order to shop, display, buy, sell, and enjoy buttons for their inherent art and historical significance. This is how I came to know the Inland Empire Button Group in Southern California whose president is Pat Tees. They are one of numerous groups in California which falls under the umbrella of The California State Button Society whose president is Susan Porter. These ladies and their members have taken CHERC under their wing. Each year for the last 5 years, they have donated many thousands of buttons toward the Holocaust Memorial project. They host a yearly Button Convention here in Visalia – usually in June- and are attended by all the button clubs through out California. I attend each year – at the Wyndham Hotel- and sometimes speak about the Holocaust Button Memorial and the events that CHERC hosts. The Inland Empire Button Club and the California State Button Society have promised to continue to donate until we reach our goal for building the memorial, 6 million buttons. As I mentioned, we are very close to reaching our goal..
The next step-in the process to to find a location. CHERC is excited to announce that this step has been achieved! The Chabad House in Bakersfield (on Ming Avenue), guided by the vision of Rabbi Schlanger, has offered their land and their sponsorship in order to build the Holocaust Memorial in the near future. Arrangements have already been made for a landscape architect who will draw site renderings. We look forward to the day when we will send out invitations to visit the Holocaust Memorial in Bakersfield. In the meantime, CHERC has a visalia office located at 114 S. Stevenson, Visalia, California 93291. Our phone number is 559-308-1333. Please call to contribute buttons, offer financial support, or to request a speaker for your school church, or organization.