Queensborough Students to Address Civil Rights Issues at Hate Crimes Internship Ceremony

January 16, 2014 | Queensborough Community College

The Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center (KHRCA) will hold the first completion ceremony for the Con Ed Hate Crimes Student Internship Program on December 23 at 10:00 A.M.

Over the course of the fall semester, eight students researched actual (closed) cases of hate crimes committed here in Queens County. To gain a better understanding of how crimes motivated by hatred and bias affect the quality of life in our community and how hate crimes are prosecuted by our legal system, students met with representatives from the NYPD, Queens District Attorney’s Office, Anti-Defamation League, Italian Commission on Social Justice, Sikh Coalition, LGBTQ – Anti-Violence Project and the Muslim Student Association.

“This is an opportunity for our students to interact with and learn from seasoned professionals who regularly handle the prosecution and prevention of hate crimes,” said Dr. Arthur Flug, Executive Director of the KHRCA. “There was no recourse for the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust—one of the greatest hate crimes ever committed—but that is not true for the victims of hate crimes today.”

Each student intern—most of whom are majoring in Criminal Justice—will present the issues of the case they have reviewed and examined, including the subsequent sentence handed down, before The Honorable Roger N. Rosengarten, New York State Supreme Court. The actual case indictments were assembled for the students by Dr. Rose-Marie Äikäs, Social Sciences, Liberal Arts Academy, and Professor Ted Rosen of the Business Academy.

“This is a powerful experience that enables students to look behind the hate crimes label,” said Dr. Äikäs who regularly visits the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center with her students so they can meet and talk with survivors.  “We’re peeling away layers of alienation that various communities have endured because of their backgrounds.” She added that, “Criminal Justice students who enter the field as practitioners have the potential to be advocates of change.”

Queensborough Community College and The Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center are grateful to Con Edison for funding the project.