By Melissa Garlick, Senior Director of Combating Antisemitism and Building Civic Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies
On Saturday, August 26, 2023, CJP partnered with ADL New England to travel to D.C. to stand in solidarity with communities across the country for the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. At the same time as we were marching, singing, and chanting, Black people were being gunned down and killed in Jacksonville, Florida, in a racially motivated attack.
The juxtaposition of themes of survival, resilience, and determination alongside the very painful reminder of the work ahead resonate deeply with me as a Jew and are exactly why I am so committed to deepening allyship as central to CJP’s work to fight antisemitism. As Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant put it in his speech: “We are not the generation that is going to sit down and be quiet. If you don’t believe me, take a one-way trip to Montgomery, Alabama, and there you will find out that no weapon born against us will be able to prosper … 60 years later, we’re still not free, but we know how to last.”
In the Jewish community, we understand all too well that racist, antisemitic, and extremist violence are intended to push us into the realm of despair and silence. We stand on the shoulders of prior generations who bravely gave their hearts, souls, and lives to democracy and freedom for us to continue that fight. And we intimately understand that fighting antisemitism cannot be done in isolation from the struggle for racial justice. That the only way we are going to achieve our shared vision is to do it arm in arm.
CJP’s work to fight antisemitism is dedicated to the vision that our work now can inspire and empower future generations to ensure freedom and equality for all. And the vision that future generations can live and pray without the threat to physical safety and security.
In the meantime, we march on and we push forward: loudly, proudly, and together.