The Silent Bystander
I think that all people should recognize the danger of being a silent bystander, both in the face of prejudice towards others and the violation of civil rights. Read the poem below by Pastor Niemoeller and think about the power of the bystander.
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out – becasue I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me.
– Pastor Niemoeller
So there you have it. You can address one or all of the following questions:
When was the best time to stop the Holocaust?
Discuss the dangers of remaining silent in the face of prejudice and the denial of civil rights.
Discuss how this applies today when students witness others being teased, bullied, or axcluded.