Blog: We all need to carry on being the light

In unprecedented times, the chance that Holocaust Memorial Day offers us, to reflect on past atrocities and current hatreds, is needed as much as ever

Never forget, never again: be the light in the darkness, Image of a lit candle.

Holocaust Memorial Day is this Wednesday. Every year on 27 January we remember the millions of people who have been affected by the Holocaust and subsequent genocides around the world.

It’s our chance to learn the lessons of the past and to help create a safer future. And with a turbulent political climate and events happening on a global scale beyond our control it really feels as if it is needed more this year than most.

The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day this year is a call to ‘be the light in the darkness’ and everyone is encouraged to reflect on the depths that humanity can sink to – but also the ways that communities and individuals resisted that darkness to ‘be the light’.

This isn’t just about knowing history – it’s about learning from it.

Today there are increasing levels of division, denial and misinformation that demand we must remain vigilant against all forms of hatred and hostility. The unprecedented times we are living through show us the best of what the human race can achieve – but with the abuse and conspiracy theories spread online, there remains a darker side too.

UNISON was founded on the principles of equality for all and the union will always fight all forms of hatred and division. We will always be the light.

And we will always stand with the Jewish community, not just today, but every day in the continuing fight against antisemitism.

Even though we can’t mark the day together this year, as we have done before, it’s still just as important – maybe even more so – to remember the crimes of the past and all those still suffering from them today.

So please take a moment this week to stand in solidarity. To light a candle. To be at home or go online. But most of all, to remember – and for us all to join together and continue to be the light.

Christina McAnea

UNISON general secretary