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Stephen Tyrone Johns (1969–2009)

The Museum will never forget Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, who died heroically in the line of duty on June 10, 2009, while protecting Museum visitors and staff from a brutal attack by an avowed racist and antisemite. The memory of Officer Johns’s outgoing personality, affection for people, and irrepressible optimism continues to inspire us to counter hate. His memory occupies a permanent place in our hearts, as do our thoughts for his family.

This attack is a painful reminder that the ideals Officer Johns sacrificed his life for are far from being realized. Confronting hate is an urgent and ongoing challenge.

As a living tribute to Officer Johns, the Museum established an endowment fund for the Stephen Tyrone Johns Summer Youth Leadership Program, enabling 50 outstanding young people every year from the Washington, DC, area to learn the timeless lessons of the Holocaust and to embrace the ideals our colleague sacrificed his life to protect. Developed in consultation with Officer Johns’s family, the program is creating a cadre of committed young people who actively engage with society, reach out to others, and promote human dignity.