We are in an age where empathy has never been more important, and as agents of peace we must be loud from the outlier end of an agenda of kindness and compassion.
A wave of hate crimes against the Jewish community has highlighted the difficult nature of prejudice and the presence of violence in our country. Most recently, 21 buildings spanning eight schools and 13 community centers were threatened with possible bomb attacks. This adds to a total of 90 threats across 73 Jewish community centers and schools over 30 states and a Canadian province since the beginning of 2017.
Hebrew High School of New England in West Hartford was in included, receiving a bomb threat Monday morning. While the threat didn’t materialize, it sends a clear message of intolerance towards to the Jewish faith and culture.
These glaring hate crimes are being investigated by the FBI, but have yet to yield leads. And while the perpetrator(s) may be caught soon, the impression they’ve left on the United States will linger.
The weight of fear is a heavy burden, and one that only gets heavier. We cannot let this burden overcome us.
We must push up against and overpower the force of this weight with love permeating through our beings, and thus our movement. We must be inclusive both in our dialogues and communities. We all must practice patience as we work together to confront the mounting presence of fear and violence lacing society.
In the presence of extreme political motives and the stilted emotions to back them, acting in peaceful resistance isn’t enough. We must do more. When it comes to prejudice, we need to be on the offensive.
Being on the offensive for social justice means holding an attitude and living a lifestyle that contributes to a culture detesting acts of hate. We must allow ourselves to be aggressive about our stance as agents of peace while we confront them.
Opposing threats of violence, bringing to surface the underlying pins of prejudice and bigotry, and keeping the conversation energized when facing these evils are all key to our success.
It’s a difficult walk, but one we must persist through with our arms and hearts linked in unwavering unity. We can lift the weight of fear and push it off of society permanently; casting away blind hate for illuminating love.
NCCJ was founded in 1927 as the National Conference for Christians and Jews in response to anti-Catholic sentiment being expressed during Al Smith's run for the Democratic nomination. Bringing diverse people together to address interfaith divisions, we’ve expanded our work to include all issues of social justice including race, class, gender equity, sexual orientation and the rights of people with different abilities.
We have not forgotten our organization’s history as the long road of opposing hate has allowed us to grow in breadth and depth. As the diversity of our country continues to flourish, we will stand tall to defend that diversity, and encourage it to flourish.
Our proud tradition of championing social justice while fighting bias, bigotry and racism is contributing to building stronger and more inclusive communities. Can we include your strength in the fight?
Post by Jason Papallo, NCCJ E-Communications and Marketing Specialist
For more information on NCCJ’s variety of social justice educational programs, click here.