By Stephen Lipken
In response to the October 27, 2018 attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Temple Israel New Rochelle Social Action Committee organized a Stronger Together Solidarity Fair, held at the synagogue on Sunday, February 3, attended by approximately 150 people from the community.
“Today is the really the product of a lot of work from our Social Action Committee who really thought it was important for us to not only engage on issues about immigration, racism and bias but to bring all of the people who are doing amazing work throughout the community…,” Temple Israel New Rochelle Rabbi Scott Weiner stated.
“It is good to see organizations from throughout the region converging here in New Rochelle demonstrating a comment to social justice and inclusivity,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson added.
“We at NAACP have been working to uplift our community for over 100 years, in this specific branch since 1923,” Minister Mark McLean, President New Rochelle NAACP said. “I want to focus on the historical partnership of African-Americans and Jewish people, who created the NAACP in 1909 to combat lynching in the South.”
In a panel moderated by Rabbi Weiner and emceed by Legislator Damon Maher, consisting of Judith Friedman, HIAS Board of Directors; David Peters, Jr., New RoAR; Acacia Bamberg Salatti, Vice President External Affairs, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic and Luis Yumbla, Acting Executive Director, Hudson Valley Community Coalition; Yumbla spoke out against detainments and deportations.
Salatti pointed out that Black women are four times likely to die in childbirth, regardless of class. She applauded the NYS passage of Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act and Reproductive Health Act.
Author Roslyn Rothstein remarked that her family was rescued four times by HIAS beginning in 1912, bringing her relatives from Belarus to Warsaw, chronicled in her book, Bubby’s Stories.
“The program was very timely, because as we are seeing…an increase in bias-related crimes, acts of hate against a variety of groups. It’s important that in every community we connect and say it is unacceptable,” Assemblyman Steven Otis stressed.
The Stronger Together Solidarity Fair was held to raise awareness, exchange information and foster coalition building, unity and solidarity against all forms of injustice in today’s climate. The participating organizations were Coalition for Mutual Respect, Greenburgh Human Rights Advisory Committee, Hearts and Homes for Refugees, Students for Refugees, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Hudson Valley Community Coalition (HVCC); Interfaith Council for New Americans Westchester (ICNAW), Interreligious Council of New Rochelle, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP local); New Rochelle Against Racism (NewRoAR); New Rochelle Bar Association, New Rochelle High School Human Rights Club, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, Religious Action Center (RAC-URJ), Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ); Sustainable Portchester Alliance, The Loft, WESPAC Foundation (Westchester People’s Action Coalition), Westchester Children’s Association (WCA) and Workmen’s Circle.