Virginia Democrats recently voted no on a bill that would have required schools to teach about the danger of communism and the suffering of its victims after a teachers’ union claimed such a curriculum would incite anti-Asian hate.
The bill, HB1816, requires Virginia’s governor to recognize Nov. 7 as Victims of Communism Day, all public elementary and secondary schools in the commonwealth to honor victims of Communism on this day, and teach a curriculum about the evils of communism.
A bill like this is long overdue because communism is responsible for the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century. These victims had names, faces, unfulfilled hopes and dreams. They were husbands, wives, daughters, sons, uncles, aunties, grandparents or grandchildren.
In Communist China alone, an estimated 30 million people were starved to death during the Great Chinese Famine (1958-1962). The victims included my baby uncle, who was born in 1959 and died in my grandmother’s arms. Additionally, I lost two granduncles, a grand-auntie and her family of five, and my maternal great-grandmother.
We, the living, owe it to those victims not to forget them and treat their deaths as mere statistics. Instead, we must honor them by remembering how they lived and died and passing important historical lessons down to future generations so the atrocity we experienced will never happen again.
As a survivor of communism, I’m greatly troubled by survey after survey showing that more American youth prefer communism and its close cousin, socialism, over free market capitalism. I don’t blame these young people, but I fault our nation’s education system for failing to teach them the evils of communism/socialism.
Historian George Santayana warned, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Therefore, I applaud a bill like HB1816 that requires public elementary and secondary schools in Virginia to commemorate all victims on Nov. 7, the Victims of Communism Day, and teach their students about the evils of communism.