Revolutionist of the Week: The Prosecutor Who is Teaching Tolerance

After defacing the school with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti, five teenagers will report on books addressing some of history’s most divisive and tragic periods. This novel sentencing requirement, instead of the usual community service and probation, was the brainchild of prosecuting attorney Alejandra Rueda. She told the New York Times that just being sentenced wasn’t going to bring the message home. “I just thought maybe if the read these books, it will make an impression on them, and they will stand up for people who are being oppressed,” she said. That is why we are naming her our Revolutionist of the Week.

Rueda came up with a brilliant idea. Most kids grow up to become bigots and racists because of ignorance and propaganda. Reading allows us to see life through other people’s eyes. Countering the propaganda by giving these children different perspectives, and showing them the perils and consequences of bigotry and hatred in the context of history, will have a profound impact on them. This is an outstanding idea. We should be encouraging everyone, youth as well as adults, to experience the writings of those who are different than them so they can reflect on what we all learned in kindergarten, the Ethic of Reciprocity, aka, the Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.