What We Do

The Anne Frank Center USA

The Anne Frank Center USA  

The Sapling Project and Confronting Intolerance Today

In 2009 AFC launched the Sapling Project, a national initiative aimed at bringing together diverse communities and educational centers in a shared celebration of Anne, her beloved chestnut tree, her appreciation of nature, and her longing for freedom and justice in the world. The Center awarded 11 saplings of the Anne Frank Tree to sites across the country. These locations memorialize incidences of intolerance and discrimination across the United States and around the world. The Anne Frank tree saplings provide an opportunity for these sites to abstract the story of Anne Frank and connect them to incidences of injustice witnessed here in the United States.

Our aim is for the planting of the 11 trees to tell a greater story of surmounting the obstacles of discrimination of any kind. We believe that the sum story will be greater than the parts. That is why the Center has also launched the Confronting Intolerance Today project, a special speaker series dedicated to giving voice to new, tolerant and creative ways that state officials, organizations, communities, and individuals can tackle modern forms of injustice here in the United States and the Netherlands, where Anne spent her two years in hiding. Thus far, topics have included hate crimes, combating prejudice, tolerance and the rule of law, and LGBTQ rights.

In April 2014 Congressional leaders planted an Anne Frank Memorial Tree on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The dedication took place at the National Statuary Hall of the United States Capitol, and was hosted by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The Capitol is a living monument to the future of democracy, hosting presidential inaugurations every four years and also providing a space for the general public to pay respects to many former presidents, senators, as well as public heroes – like the civil rights icon Rosa Parks – who have all lain in state at the building. As a symbolic message of hope and justice, Anne’s tree is well at home on its grounds.

That same month the Center presented a Confronting Intolerance Today event in New York at Congregation Shearith Israel – the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue – in partnership with the New Amsterdam History Center. Author Russell Shorto and Rabbi Meir Soloveichik discussed what makes Amsterdam's liberal values unique, and how they are being challenged today, to mark the publication of Mr. Shorto’s new book, Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City. In May, our second Confronting Intolerance Today event took place at the Dutch Consulate in San Francisco, on the subject of LGBTQ rights. The program brought together Boris Dittrich, Human Rights Watch’s Advocacy Director for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights, with Susan Christian, Chair, San Francisco Human Rights Commission, and Cecilia Chung, Senior Strategist at the Transgender Law Center for a panel discussion addressing the issue of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.


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