Juneteenth: Wise words from Congresswoman Lucy McBaty

Thanx to my friend Arthur Shostak for sending this. This is a new legal holiday to honor African Americans. The actual holiday was yesterday, but today it is honored as a legal holiday.

 

Today, we celebrate Juneteenth for the 157th time – and the 2nd time as an official federal holiday.

On a day with so much symbolism for Black Americans, it’s not lost on me that the legacy of slavery, racism, and the struggle for equality – from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter – has had a profound impact on my own life.

My father Lucien was the first Black dentist in Joliet, Illinois where I grew up – as well as president of the state chapter of the NAACP. I joined him at the March on Washington in a stroller, and I have many childhood memories of participating in protests, demonstrations, and marches during the 1960s.

After graduating from an HBCU, I joined Delta Airlines and had a long career as a flight attendant. I loved the flexibility it afforded me to be home with my son Jordan every night for dinner, especially after I became a single mom.

Then almost a decade ago, my world was rocked when my 17-year-old son was shot in a hate-fueled killing. His murderer parked next to Jordan and his friends at a gas station. He quickly became angry that my son and his friends wouldn’t turn down their car stereo. Then, he started an altercation that ended with him firing ten rounds into the side of their parked SUV. 

The man who murdered my son referred to the music he was playing in the car as “thug music.” The open disdain for my son and his friends is disgusting, and far too common in our country. Had this not been the case, Jordan would likely be alive today.

Today’s celebration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday matters. The power of our stories matter. The fact that Georgia’s 7th District just sent someone like me back to Congress for another term matters. 

In solidarity,

– Lucy

 

Lucy has dedicated her life’s work to preventing gun violence, and she needs our movement to continue standing strong beside her. Please consider making a donation to help Lucy continue to lead our fight for gun safety reform in the halls of Congress.

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International Holocaust Memorial Day: Wed., Jan. 27th

Below is information from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and below that is my essay. This is a solemn day, not only for Jews, but for all of us who decry antisemitism. es

https://www.ushmm.org/remember

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27

The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27—the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau—as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On this annual day of commemoration, the UN urges every member state to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and to develop educational programs to help prevent future genocides.

How to Remember

International Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration

Wednesday, January 27, 1 p.m. ET

During this ceremony, leaders from the United States and Europe will join Holocaust survivors in conveying the urgent responsibility we all share to protect the lessons and legacy of Holocaust history and to defend the truth—now more than ever.

Join the Conversation. Share your reflections about International Holocaust Remembrance Day on social media using #WeRemember.

 

The two concentration camps liberated on January 27th, 1945

 

 

African-American & Jewish-American Citizens: Both Enslaved

by Ellen Sue Jacobson

The Jewish people were slaves in Egypt when pharoahs ruled, so we don’t have the immediacy that some African Americans have, that is, parents or grandparents who were slaves. And because Jews are not considered people of color, unless they are descended from native Africans as in Ethiopia, Jewish people can “pass” and avoid discrimination.

As for people who look Jewish, I believe that is a mistaken concept, since most of the original immigrants were probably from Eastern Europe and had the features that many consider looking Jewish (curly hair, large noses, etc.). However, because of the Diaspora, there are Jewish people who are blondes and redheads without prominent noses or curly hair, because their family migrated and intermarried in countries where their looks were not “typically” Jewish.

Also, in America, many people changed their names, such as Finklestein became Fink,  and Greenberg became Greene, and Cohen became Collins. The discrimination of Jews who came to America led to people changing their original name to one less obviously Jewish-sounding, unlike African Americans, who could not change the color of their skin.

The Holocaust in mid-20th century was probably the most horrendous event of that century, with COVID-19 being even more deadly than Pearl Harbor or 911 in the 21st century. Here’s a direct quote from the Internet:

The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jewish men, women and children by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were “racially superior” and they wanted to create a “racially pure” state. Jews, deemed “inferior,” were considered an alien threat to the so-called German racial community….. Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. Because the Nazis advocated killing children of “unwanted” groups, children—particularly Jewish and Romani children—were especially vulnerable in the era of the Holocaust. (www.encyclopedia.ushmm.org)

And this Washington Post quote tells us even higher numbers:

11 million, not 6 million, died in the Holocaust

Actually, about 6 million Jews and about 5 million non-Jews were murdered by the Nazis. The others included Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men, et al. Writing “11 million Jews and others” would more accurately describe the extent of the killing.

Whether we are talking about people of color, people with different religious beliefs, or people who have been scapegoated for whatever reason, making them slaves or putting them in crematoria, or bullying them in school are all injustices they don’t deserve. It is like eliminating people with blue eyes because someone made up a theory that blue-eyed people are weaker than brown-eyed people. To me, the differences between people are what make us all interesting. We are not carbon copies of one another.

I believe that King abhorred antisemitism or any “anti” that denigrated human beings  because of the color of their skin or their religious beliefs or cultural differences. When we celebrated Martin Luther King Day and now International Holocaust Memorial Day this month, let us look inside ourselves to see if we are biased against people who look or believe differently from us. (This does not include people who are terrorists, no matter what their skin color or religious beliefs are.) The Golden Rule still holds up: “Don’t do to others that which you would not do to yourself.”

Let’s all work for peace and cooperation among all peoples from all walks of the planet.

P.S. Here is a quote from Rabbi Michael Lerner in Tikuun Magazine www.tikkun.org

“So this is my message: if you want to honor MLK Jr. then Be MLK Jr. Embody his message and embrace his honoring of the other, nonviolent, love-oriented discourse and you will see how miracles start to happen.”

 

 

 

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