“Checkmate Hate”–A Jericho Legacy And Pay-It-Forward Event

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On Sept. 10, a group of fervent volunteers from CHESSanity were busy setting up chess boards at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center (HMTC) of Nassau County in Glen Cove, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to promoting Holocaust education and tolerance and respect in our community. They could not wait to host their annual gala, the 10th Chess-In-The-Park tournament, and also to debut the first ever “Checkmate Hate” fundraising event.
Every September for the last nine years, CHESSanity, a Jericho-based nonprofit founded in 2014 by two brothers, Wesley and Warren Wang, has hosted the annual Chess-In-The-Park event at Allenwood Park, Great Neck. But for the first time in its history, the chess-in-the-park event was held at a Holocaust educational center this year. Nearly 60 players registered and braved through the pouring rain to show up and play a good game of chess, bringing over 100 people together to have some fun and learn a little history.
I was one of them, proudly and gratefully. Starting from learning chess in Wesley’s group lesson seven years ago, I have been lucky to continuously share the joy of playing chess and expand the passion to others. Early this year, at the Jericho High School Hall of Fame Induction ceremony, I met Dana Arschin, the first-ever Holocaust storyteller and journalist, who inspired me with the idea of hosting a fundraising chess tournament at HMTC. Chess brings people from all different ages, different cultures, and different backgrounds, but when we play, we speak the same universal language on the checkerboard. Also, it represents the same values of inclusion and tolerance demonstrated, as across the world.
So I shared the ideas with CHESSanity and its volunteers, and we were thrilled to put it on board. It was truly rewarding to see our shared passion help to pay it forward: our first fundraising chess event brought a lot of people, chess players and their families, to support HTMC in promoting Holocaust awareness and tolerance with $1000 fundraised.
Whenever people start to talk about Jericho, the immediate response is WOW that’s one of the best school districts in the country……I know. Beyond academic excellence, I hope you could join me in crediting the Jericho community for helping to inspire and empower young generations to always think outside of the box, to lead by example, to be proud of our roots, and continue to make wonderful things from kindness, passion and talent.
—By Michael Li, a Jericho Middle Student

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