How to Address Antisemitism: Take Action Now

In an op-ed in the Gotham Gazette, JFREJ Antisemitism Team members Arielle Korman and Martha Acklesberg describe JFREJ’s Hate Violence Prevention Initiative and the values behind it (read the full op-ed here):

“We refuse to downplay the profound threat of anti-Semitic violence, or to dismiss the real fear and pain our community feels in this moment; yet we believe that there is a better way for the Jewish community to protect itself: by preventing hate violence in the first place.

“We need approaches that prevent violence through education and community-building, interrupt violence through community-based upstander/bystander trainings and rapid response at the local level, and repair damage through restorative justice, counseling, and peer-support. We oppose “zero tolerance” policies — an approach that is geared toward impressive sound bites, not effective hate violence reduction.”

Today, we need your help to convince the New York City Council to fund the Hate Violence Prevention Initiative.

  • Take action by signing our petition to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

  • Share with your friends and family, tweet and post on social media using the hashtags #NYCAgainstHate and #FundCommunitySafety.
  • Additional ways that you can take action to fight hate violence can be found in our HVPI Action Guide.

The Hate Violence Prevention Initiative is seeking $1.1 million in funding for nine community-based organizations that are working citywide and across Jewish, Arab-American, LGBTQ, immigrant, Black and Brown identities to prevent and respond to hate violence in our city.

Over 300 hate crimes were reported to the New York Police Department in 2018. However, obtaining a resolution to a hate incident through reporting to the police is insufficient for healing in communities, “hate crime” is a narrowly defined legal framework, and increased penalties for hate crimes do not deter assailants from committing acts of violence. Hate violence and bias incidents can only be prevented in the community, by the community — not by the police or by prosecutors.

The Hate Violence Prevention Initiative would support community-based work coordinated by a coalition of groups working across identities to make New York safer for our communities.

The coalition includes the Audre Lorde Project, Arab American Association of New York, Brooklyn Movement Center, Center for Anti-Violence Education, Desis Rising Up & Moving, Global Action Project, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Make the Road New York, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project and would support the organizations to build on the work we are doing, including:

  • Bystander/upstander intervention trainings to empower community members to ally themselves with victims when an incident of hate or harassment is underway in public.
  • Community-based, culturally competent reporting of hate violence incidents. Marginalized communities feel safest reporting incidents to community-based organizations, which can help them to make a safety plan and determine whether or not they would like to report to law enforcement or another city agency.
  • Community care, including community-led transformative justice processes that focus on challenging and transforming the perspectives of people who do harm in our neighborhoods, as well as counseling and peer support services for survivors of violence.
  • Rapid incident responses that may include community alerts, town hall meetings, neighborhood safety events, and will also create space for targeted school-based and neighborhood education across multiple identities.