I can’t be silent on the problems of racial hatred, violence, and prejudice.
I’m talking out publicly in assist of the current name by billionaire African American enterprise chief and philanthropist, Robert F. Smith, to face up in opposition to the resurgence of racism and antisemitism in America.
Blacks and Jews in the US have had a protracted historical past and custom of working collectively and sacrificing collectively for freedom, justice, equality and fairness. Lest we neglect that we’ve marched collectively for over a century. We have now shared blood collectively. And we’ve died collectively for the reason for freedom within the Civil Rights Motion.
Each of our communities at the moment more and more are the targets of violent hatred, ignorant stereotypes, and a demonic supremacist ideology. Racism and antisemitism are twin evils that can’t be ignored or trivialized.
In a current full web page paid commercial in The New York Occasions, Robert F. Smith affirmed, “At a time when racism and antisemitism are on the rise, I’m decided to companion with leaders from all faiths to acknowledge ‘Fifteen Days of Mild’. We’re unifying to rejoice Chanukah and Kwanzaa collectively, and encourage communities nationwide to hitch us in our assist for each other.”
“Fifteen Days of Mild” is a well timed nationwide alternative to do what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prophetically outlined as the event and institution of a “Beloved Group.” Dr. King envisioned that this could be a nationwide multiracial neighborhood the place there can be no racism, no antisemitism, and no hatred towards anybody.
All folks, no matter race, ethnicity, faith, or religion would stay along with mutual respect and unconditional love for all.
As we put together to enter 2023, disunity between Blacks and Jews is ahistorical and counterproductive. We can’t afford to be nonchalant or detached. Smith’s assertion to encourage participation in acts of remembrance throughout the nation celebrating each Chanukah and Kwanzaa collectively over a 15-day interval this month jogged my memory of the necessity to reaffirm the solidarity between Blacks and Jews.
I attended the historic 1963 March on Washington the place Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his eloquent and transcendent “I Have a Dream” speech. I recall the robust advocacy from Jewish leaders like Arnold Aronson of the Management Convention on Civil Rights that supported Dr. King and the Southern Christian Management Convention, the NAACP, and different civil rights organizations on the March on Washington.
That day I additionally bear in mind listening to from a dynamic younger freedom fighter named John Lewis who emphasised the urgency for racial equality. Then there was a younger Jewish people singer named Bob Dylan who carried out on the March a haunting music he wrote concerning the tragic assassination of civil rights chief Medgar Evers in Mississippi.
On that sunny day in August of 1963 in Washington there have been different freedom motion audio system that included a variety of distinguished Jewish voices from throughout the nation, together with the outspoken Rabbi Joachim Prinz, who spoke about “the disgrace and shame of inequality and injustice” dealing with the Black neighborhood.
Later that 12 months in November, Dr. King joined with theologian Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel on the United Synagogue of America’s Golden Jubilee Conference in New York Metropolis.
King and Heschel pledged to work collectively to finish racism and antisemitism. In 1965 when Dr. King, John Lewis, Hosea Williams and different civil rights leaders marched throughout the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Alabama, the historic Selma to Montgomery March, for voting rights, Rabbi Heschel was there marching shoulder to shoulder in solidarity.
The Black neighborhood and the Jewish neighborhood share a protracted, shared historical past of battle and combating for civil rights – from August and Henrietta Bondi’s residence in Kansas getting used as a cease on the Underground Railroad to Jewish organizations taking part within the protests following the homicide of George Floyd and the acceleration of the Black Lives Matter motion.
In line with current nationwide legislation enforcement information, at the moment there was an unprecedented enhance in hate crimes focused in opposition to Black and Jewish communities.
In line with the Anti-Defamation League, 2021 was the best 12 months on file for documented studies of harassment, vandalism and violence directed in opposition to Jews because the group started monitoring incidents in 1979.Up to now in 2022 the incidents of antisemitism haven’t declined however have steadily elevated.
The Nationwide Newspaper Publishers Affiliation has documented a continuing enhance in racially motivated assaults on Black folks all through the US through the previous decade. All types of racism and antisemitism ought to at all times be challenged relentlessly. Dr. King stated it greatest, “We should all be taught to stay collectively as brothers, or we’ll all perish collectively as fools.”
Robert F. Smith, founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Fairness Companions, chairman, Carnegie Corridor, is taking the best stand on the proper time. Smith said within the advert, “Michael Eric Dyson not too long ago wrote that ‘…African People and Jews are passengers on the identical ship dealing with the ferocious headwinds of bigotry and hatred.’ It’s time to put apart variations and shift our focus to the shared values that deliver all People collectively as God’s kids.”
The decision to motion is: “Be a part of us this vacation season at public occasions from Los Angeles to New York, or in your personal residence, to mild the Eight Nights of the Chanukah Menorah adopted instantly by the Seven Nights of Kwanzaa and the Kinara. Submit your personal pictures of Black and Jewish buddies, neighbors and colleagues coming collectively to #lightthecandles.”
Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is president and CEO of the Nationwide Newspaper Publishers Affiliation.