Dallas Holocaust Museum Shines Light on ‘Upstanders’

The museum aims to change how people think and treat others, and the Upstanders Speakers Series is just one of the ways it spreads the message.


Starbucks recently debuted its first original content series, “Upstanders,” and the messaging will look very familiar to those who have visited the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance. 


The Dallas Holocaust Museum teaches visitors about upstander behavior. It’s a message we’ve been sharing for decades.

The 16 employees at the museum were excited to hear about Starbucks’ series. It’s our mission to teach others the history of the Holocaust, as well as advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred, and indifference. We are celebrating Starbucks for spreading the word about what it means to be an upstander. 


One of the ways the museum spreads the message is through our Upstander Speakers Series. We host three speakers annually. 

Mike Kim gave up a lucrative financial planning business to provide North Koreans fleeing to China with humanitarian aid and guidance while on the dangerous journey.

Our final speaker for this year, Mike Kim, gave up a lucrative financial planning business to provide humanitarian aid and guidance for North Koreans fleeing to China. North Korean refugees are not welcomed in China and often exploited. 

Next year, we will be featuring, George Takei, actor/LBGTQ/activist; Dr. Mehnaz Afridi, director of a Holocaust Center in New York, who seeks to bridge the chasm between Jews, Catholics, and Muslims; and Dr. Samantha Nutt, a humanitarian, author, founder of War Child Canada, and co-founder of War Child USA.


The museum has Upstander wristbands and T-shirts which, like Starbucks, carry messages about humanity, compassion, citizenship, and civility that motivate us. 

“We have been witnessing the very worst of a terrible political season, which has seen such hatred and vitriol and divisiveness … in view of that, so many Americans have been led to believe that the story of America is just that,” Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said recently to Jim Cramer, host of CNBC‘s “Mad Money” show.  

“We know the value of bearing witness to Upstanders who defy indifference and step up.”
Mary Pat Higgins 

Schultz is co-creator of the Starbucks original series Upstanders.

“I understand his motivation. Throughout history, time and time again, humankind is given many chances to make better choices. There are people who are doing that,” Museum President Mary Pat Higgins said. “We know the value of bearing witness to Upstanders who defy indifference and step up.” 

Upstanders Speaker Series 2016-2017

Mike Kim

When: VIP reception begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 17

Where: Communities Foundation of Texas, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane, in Dallas

About the speaker: On New Year’s Day 2003 Mike Kim gave up a financial planning business in Chicago and left for China on a one-way ticket with two duffle bags. He had learned hundreds of thousands of North Koreans were fleeing to China in search of food and freedom. Kim successfully led many North Korean escapees to safety in Southeast Asia using a 6,000-mile modern-day underground railroad. He wrote Escaping North Korea about his experiences and founded Crossing Borders, a nonprofit dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees.

Cost: free for members, $10 general admission, $20 for VIP members, and $30 for non-members

More Info and tickets: eventbrite.com

George Takei

When: Feb. 2, 2017

Where: TBD

About the speaker: George Takei has captivated audiences for decades with his acting talent as well as his charming and witty personality. Born in Los Angeles, California to Japanese American parents, Takei speaks openly about his childhood experiences during World War II. When he was 5 years old, Takei and his family were forced to relocate from their home to internment camps in Arkansas and northern California. His family returned to Los Angeles after the war. Breaking through racial barriers, Takei found success as an actor and reached peak science-fiction fandom for his iconic role as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek television series and movies. Takei continues to act on stage and screen, and he fervently advocates for LGBTQ rights and fought for marriage equality in America.

Dr. Mehnaz Afridi

When: May 10, 2017

Where: TBD

About the speaker: Dr. Mehnaz Afridi’s research aims to understand the relations between Muslims, Jews, and Christians and to promote an open interfaith dialogue between them. Raised in Western Europe and the Middle East, Afridi is a Muslim whose curiosity led her to question the reasons behind the racial and political tensions she witnessed between Jews and Muslims. Unfamiliar with the Holocaust, she studied under her professor during a teaching assistantship, and then delved further to learn about Judaism, the Holocaust, and the role of Muslims, Islamophobia, and antisemitism. Her studies led her to Israel where she began interviewing Holocaust survivors to hear their stories and hardships. Afridi currently serves as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and the Director of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College. Many of her publications focus on how her contemporaries expressed antisemitism. Her forthcoming book, Shoah Through Muslim Eyes, is based on her personal and academic journey into Judaism as a Muslim.

Dr. Samantha Nutt

When: Nov. 9, 2017

Where: TBD

About the speaker: As a recent medical-school graduate in 1995, Dr. Samantha Nutt found work as a field volunteer with UNICEF in Baidoa, Somalia, alias “city of death.” Impassioned and emboldened by what she witnessed there, Nutt began her lifetime career as an advocate for children’s and women’s rights in major war zones around the world. From Iraq to Afghanistan, Somalia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria to Darfur, Sudan, Nutt has been on the frontlines of the world’s major conflict zones, and her work has helped thousands of children affected by war. Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid, Nutt’s critically-acclaimed debut book is a No. 1 bestseller. It combines original research with personal stories that span her career of hands-on care with children and families impacted by violence. She did this while founding the renowned global humanitarian organizations War Child Canada and War Child USA. A leading authority on war, current affairs, and international policy, Nutt is one of the most fearless and recognized humanitarian speakers in the field. 

Join the Mission

Your membership in the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance enables the museum to move from memory to action. Visit Facebook, and see weekly posts of the “Upstander of the Week.”

Read the quarterly newsletter online at Upstander Newsletters.

Use #inspiringupstanders to join the conversation on social media. 

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