In the first effort of its kind, people from San Francisco to Washington, DC including Holocaust survivors are walking or running to remember the victims of the Holocaust and to spotlight surging antisemitism worldwide. Participants are also sharing their tallies on social media with the hashtag “#6MillionSteps” as part of the innovative Israeli-American Council campaign ahead of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins tonight and ends sundown Thursday.
The goal by April 11 is to reach 18 million total steps, a multiple of six million, as 18 symbolizes good luck in Judaism and the Hebrew letter equivalent “chai,” life. People of all ages have been gathering for a few weeks in socially distanced events across the country, from the National Mall in Washington to San Jose, amassing more than 13.6 million steps to date.
Events have taken place, or are scheduled to take place, in New Jersey; New York City; at the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Cleveland; Chicago; Washington University, St. Louis; the University of Georgia, Athens; Atlanta; Tulane University, New Orleans; Orlando; Boulder, Colorado; Las Vegas; the San Francisco Bay Area; and Los Angeles.
In New York, 60 nurses, 10 doctors, and 10 support staff in the cardiac intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Hospital even collected the steps they took during the day to support #6MillionSteps.
Participants are posting to a special #6MilllionSteps website and connecting their Fitbit or Garmin fitness trackers, or manually entering their total steps while walking, running or exercising. People are also placing a special #6MilllionSteps frame to their social media profile. The #6MillionSteps site features interviews with Holocaust survivors and offers resources on rising antisemitism and hate crimes.
Among those taking part are Israeli-American Grammy Award-winning violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who played the Israeli national anthem while walking in New Jersey. Click here to download and watch the video.
“At a time of growing polarization and extremism, #6MillionSteps is gathering people everywhere in memory of the six million victims, including the 1.5 million children, murdered by the Nazis,” said IAC Co-founder and CEO Shoham Nicolet. “By taking six million steps together every week at this perilous time, we are leading the way to fight antisemitism, indifference and ignorance and ensuring we never forget the lessons of the Holocaust.”