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Supporting Our Jewish Community

News Article
A message from Lisa Watson, Director
Published
Lisa Watson

**Content warning: murder, violence, antisemitism, white nationalism, racism**

October 28, 2022

Yesterday, we observed the fourth anniversary of the deadliest act of antisemitism in our nation’s history: the shooting rampage at the Tree of Life-Or L'Simcha Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh, which killed 11 Jewish people. Hate and antisemitism continue to grow in our society, and we reaffirm our support for our Jewish community, colleagues, neighbors, family, and friends.

Sadly, the oppression of and violence toward Jewish people is not new, and it’s growing. The surge in antisemitism is tied to centuries-old tropes, stereotypes, and harmful mischaracterizations that are kept alive by white nationalism and bigotry. We can track overt acts of hate and violence, but the truth is that many Jewish people, religious or not, must also navigate the trauma of more subtle antisemitism on a regular basis with coded language and oppressive treatment from people across the political spectrum. Many tropes focus on the Ashkenazi people, which erases the experiences of many other racially and culturally diverse communities within the Jewish diaspora.

We must all educate ourselves and learn more about other people and cultures. For example, we can move beyond associating the Jewish experience with just the Holocaust and learn about the rich history of strength, joy, family, and celebration within these diverse communities.

In partnership with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s Office, the Office of Equity and Human Rights is co-developing an Anti-white Supremacy education opportunity for City staff with Western States Center and we will keep you updated on that forthcoming program.

Resources

Antisemitism intersects with racism, anti-Blackness, and anti-immigrant sentiment. And hurts us all. Hate and white nationalism divide us. We can win, though, by joining together, being better educated, being culturally conscious, and celebrating our differences. This is how we gain power over those who choose to hate and divide us.

Thank you,

Lisa Watson