Thursday, March 15, 2012

Helen R. Starr



jude  hrs© 03/15/2012


Metropolitan State University Alumni Speech

While at Metro State, I designed my own IDP degree, which combined coursework in Technical Communications and English Writing. I want to thank Metro for helping me create a program tailored around my needs and goals. I encourage all of you to consider evaluating how well your coursework reflects your professional goals.

In 2008, I began employing Second Life’s digital interactive world to create the “Why Now” Lecture Series featuring my mother, Holocaust Survivor Fanny Starr. More than eight years later, we have spoken to thousands of people all over the world who have come to know my mother’s frightening history by educating others.

To honor parents, and my heritage, I educate about the Holocaust. To call out the many people who deny the Holocaust ever happened, and of course, to fight anti-Semitism. One of the videos was created at Roadrunner Island in conjunction with Tech Communications, St Mary’s Academy, and an interviewer from NYC, Pooky Amsterdam.

Why Now, by helenrstarr productions

I have been using Second Life as one tool to fight hatred and Anti-Semitism since 2008. The executives at Linden Labs have been both helpful and encouraging. Recently I started to use other forms of social media, FB, Twitter and my blog.  Twitter: A student from the United Kingdom tweeted me; she introduced herself by saying,

“Hi, I’m doing a dissertation on the Holocaust and wanted an expert answer to why there was a huge surge of Holocaust material after 90's."

The internet came to life and impacted culture, and the way we view our surroundings. With the surge of the Internet came information, and people started sharing stories. The stories grew into a bigger awareness.

Her recognition of my efforts was gratifying, and reminded me daily that my very public educational efforts are paying off. I hope that all of you will create a profile and an avatar in Second Life to explore all the virtual possibilities in education, art, music, and other interactions that take place in Second Life.

Why Now


Meanwhile, anti-Semitism and hatred continue to grow worldwide. To think that Hitler was their teacher, and that it’s okay to hate, bully, and kill. Just three weeks ago, The Southern Poverty Law Center reports; America has 2,145, anti-immigration, and anti-government hate groups active in the U.S. It’s the highest number identified since the non-profit began tracking these groups in the early 1980’s.

The Why Now project continues, and the next level involves collaborating with others in academia, entertainment, and Holocaust historians. The date has not been set, and it’s in the developing stages for mid spring. Updates for Yom HaShoah, Why Now Project, April 11, 2013, Time 5:00 PM SLT.

I owe many thanks to my parents who I honor everyday, Amen. I owe many thanks to my friends who tell me the truth, through darkness and light. To my advisors, professors, deans, and provosts thank you for helping me achieve my American Dream.

In memory of my father Zesa Starr, Holocaust Survivor who taught me that Hatred is pure evil. In memory of my brother Chef Morris L. Starr, thanks for taking me to the movies. 

Thank you Metropolitan State University Alumni for inviting me to speak. I haven't graduated, and yet you made feel valuable to the education world.  Thank you...