Some of you know that I come from a military family. We lived outside of the U.S. during most of the 1950s. I was born in San Antonio, Texas, when Plessy v Ferguson was still good law.
Before my family returned to the States in 1960, we toured France where we had been living. My Dad was stationed there, and I was in the middle of the second grade. I remember leaving my best friend Dawn and my jump rope in my locker, but I digress.
We drove through the French town Oradour-sur-Glane. The local folks told us that during World War II, a Jewish resident spat on a Nazi who was part of the occupation. The Nazis came back and lined up all the residents in front of a ditch and shot them dead. This story was seared in my brain. I think that is when I became an activist, at least in my head, because I had just finished the fifth grade. Upon reflection decades later, I think that moment was when I really understood that there is evil in our world.
Recently I have been receiving many alerts about the rise of anti-Semitism such as this. I have spoken up in support of my AAPI friends and colleagues. I want to speak up in support of my Jewish friends and allies.
The first social event I went to once I was vaccinated was a Seder. As you might imagine, there were lots of wise cracks when we came to the part of the Haggadah recalling the plagues.
We are all in this together. We must have each other’s backs and fronts as my former colleague Kimberly Thomas Rapp used to say. These are very strange and unsettling times. The optimist in me feels that there are more good people than evil ones, but that eternal vigilance is warranted.
In a few hours from now, the ADL and other organizations are sponsoring a virtual rally and Day of Action Against Antisemitism. It starts at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time and you can register at actagainstantisemitism.org. EJS will be participating.
Okay, that’s it. I just needed to step up and speak up.