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Runestad bill would add Ukraine’s Holodomor to Michigan’s social studies curriculum

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jim Runestad on Thursday introduced legislation to add the Holodomor to the state’s social studies curriculum requirements for grades 8 to 12.

“The Holodomor genocide is one of the great tragedies of the 20th Century — it is important not only to remember this brutal atrocity, but to teach it to future generations in the hope that it will never again be repeated,” said Runestad, R-White Lake. “We must be mindful of these important lessons in order to preserve the freedoms we have as U.S. citizens, and to never forget the Ukrainians and many others who have suffered under the violent rule of communism.”

Senate Bill 1079 would include the Holodomor with the Holocaust and 1915 Armenian genocide as part of the state’s core academic curriculum content standards and learning objectives concerning genocide for history in grades 8 to 12.

The Holodomor, also referred to as the Terror-Famine, was imposed in Soviet-controlled Ukraine by Joseph Stalin from 1932 to 1933; it resulted in the deaths of millions of Ukrainians and crushed the nation’s independence movement. The term Holodomor, which can be translated as “extermination by means of starvation,” emphasizes the famine’s intentional and man-made aspects, such as the rejection of outside aid, confiscation of food from households and restrictions on population movement.

In November, Runestad co-sponsored Senate Resolution 97 to recognize the 88th anniversary of the Holodomor.

“Soviet authorities denied, concealed, or destroyed information about the Holodomor and hid the facts of this genocide for decades. Classroom instruction on this tragedy would help to improve all students’ comprehensive understanding of world history,” Runestad said.

SB 1079 has been referred to the Committee on Education and Career Readiness.

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