David Estrin spoke these words aloud to his family and friends during a Passover seder, a time when his grandfather would share his story of survival. As the grandson of four Holocaust survivors, David grew up with a personal imperative to never forget his family's history. But when his grandfather, a survivor of the Auschwitz and Mauthausen death camps, passed away during his junior year at Duke University, this fact unnerved him.
David returned to Duke feeling compelled to honor the memory of his grandfather and that of the millions who did not have the ability to celebrate life like his grandfather did. Reaching out to friends in "enemy territory" at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), he learned how the school comes together annually to read the names of Holocaust victims for 24 hours on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
With this inspiration, David formed a coalition of Duke students and faculty with the goal of transforming one day of school into an annual event for atrocity awareness, education, and action on Duke's campus. In April 2013, these students and faculty read the names of thousands of victims from 6 different genocides and atrocities for 24 hours. And so Together We Remember (TWR) was born.
The #TogetherWeRemember campaign has become an annual tradition at Duke University as well as other communities across the globe. In 2017, David established a not-for-profit organization to build on Duke's powerful display of community and recruited a strong coalition of partners to work towards an ambitious goal - to transform April, Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month, into a global month of remembrance and activism for all victims of violent hatred in history through coordinated vigils in communities across the world and on social media.