Home Richmond Mayor leads effort for Jewish residents throughout U.S. to ‘feel safe in their homes’

Richmond Mayor leads effort for Jewish residents throughout U.S. to ‘feel safe in their homes’

levar stoney richmond
2016 file photo

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is leading an effort to encourage other metropolitan leaders to publicly acknowledge Jewish American Heritage Month in May and to celebrate the contributions of Jews Americans to our history and culture.

After a letter was sent to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, mayors of 126 cities have signed on to the letter and made the commitment.

“As we’ve seen in the news and in our own backyards, antisemitism has been rising at an alarming rate across the United States,” Mayor Stoney said in his letter. “2021 was the highest year on record for reports of attacks against Jewish people. Antisemitism has returned to pop culture and politics, too: celebrities and many political leaders at all levels of government continue to flirt or directly engage with antisemitism as well.

“Jewish residents of our respective cities deserve to feel safe in their homes, neighborhoods and communities; a mayoral proclamation of Jewish American Heritage Month will clearly communicate that their city’s leaders recognize them and oppose antisemitism.

“The resurgence of this ancient hatred is a threat not just to Jewish people, but to all who value human dignity, inclusion and compassion,” Stoney said.

The focus on celebrating JAHM at the local level was a critical priority and initiative of The Combat Antisemitism Movement.

Last week, more than two dozen members of Congress and their staff met at the Capitol for a breakfast assembled by CAM to acknowledge Jewish American Heritage Month and to condemn those who continue to perpetuate bigotry and hatred towards the Jewish people.

“Telling the Jewish American story is paramount if we are going to tackle ignorance and hatred in our communities,” said CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa. “And this story needs to be told at the local level. Residents of every city across America – not just the places where large populations of Jewish Americans live – ought to know what Jewish Americans have contributed to history, society, commerce, and culture. Progress happens one bold step at a time, and celebrating JAHM every May is an important step in the right direction.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.