No Hate in Our States – Giving Thanks
By Myra Clark-Siegel, Director, AJC Westchester/Fairfield
One word automatically triggers all things pumpkin spice, turkey (or tofurkey), football, and festive gatherings with family and friends.
This year, our celebrations are all the more meaningful.
Even better, you can celebrate early – without any cooking.
What began in 1621 by many historical accounts as an autumn harvest feast between the Plymouth colonists and the Native American Wampanoag may actually be closer to its celebratory origins in 2022 than in hundreds of years.
We remember the history: in 1620, the Mayflower left England with Pilgrims in search of religious freedom in search of opportunity in the “New World”. Throughout that first year after landing in Plymouth, they experienced terrible hardships, illness, and worse, but were greeted by Native Americans who showed tremendous kindness and hospitality.
Incredibly, it wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
As we approach Thanksgiving 2022, after nearly three years of uncertainty, hardship, and a complete upending of everything once considered routine, this year, our celebrations will no doubt take on even greater meaning.
The pandemic has disrupted so much in all of our lives, but perhaps the most fundamental aspect is the tear in our societal norms.
After several years of increasing hate incidents and hate crimes against minority communities: most especially against Jewish, Black, and Asian American Pacific Islanders, it is time for us to join in person to raise our voices in a unified statement of strength.
On Thursday, November 17, one week prior to Thanksgiving, we will reconvene in person to celebrate our 21st annual AJC Thanksgiving Diversity Breakfast. We invite you to join us.
Launched in 2001, the Thanksgiving Diversity Breakfast began with 20 different faith and ethnic leaders who wanted to publicly stand together with our diverse communities in the wake of the horrific 9/11 attacks.
Last year, we launched AJC’s regional Community of Conscience, designed to formalize and strengthen the partnerships between our faith and ethnic communities.
Together, we can be upstanders for one another. Together, we can once again unite to celebrate the strength of our diverse communities. Together, we can draw a wider circle, and we invite you to join us.
For Thanksgiving 2022, we will stand strong together and celebrate with our interfaith and intergroup partners; with government officials at the local, state, and federal level; with diplomats; and with decision makers and opinion leaders.
If you want to make a difference and publicly show your unity with all faiths, ethnicities, and backgrounds, we invite you to join us in person on Thursday, November 17, at 7:30 a.m. for an uplifting, engaging, interactive Thanksgiving Diversity Breakfast at SUNY Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY.
This event often sells out, so we encourage you to register today: www.ajc.org/westfair/Diversity2022
Myra Clark-Siegel is AJC Westchester/Fairfield regional director. To join our efforts: firstname.lastname@example.org.