Threats and Desecration in Our Town by Ayala Emmett

Children Play Here

This morning our local Jewish Community Center received a bomb threat.

Rochester, NY the city of Susan B. Anthony and Fredrick Douglas, a community with a long rich history of Jewish immigration and philanthropy, is facing a wave of anti-Semitism.

Since the political rise of Donald Trump, Rochester has seen hateful defaming pamphlets, desecration of Jewish cemeteries, and now a despicable bomb threat to the JCC. This is a place where parents bring infants and children to daycare and seniors come daily for sociability.

The JCC, which is inclusive and welcoming, used to have open doors. It is heartbreaking to see security guards at the single entrance that now rightly requires identification from all who enter.

It is hard to know where to begin to describe the recent and drastic chipping away at our democracy, which since the 18th century,has been striving with ups and downs and shame and hope to be truly inclusive. We the people don’t want to go back to the “good old days” of segregation, lynching and racism. America was not great then. We remember the past and cannot separate the homegrown terrorizing of the Jewish community from the rise of nationalist xenophobic anti-Muslim, anti-immigrants, anti Syrian refugees, anti-civil rights that the current administration has engaged in.

The president of these United States, has by omission and commission encouraged anti-Semitic violence in the public sphere. He has legitimated White supremacists who used to be the political fringe. He has opened the gates of the White House to the White nationalist barbarians.

We have an American message for the president. We the people will not allow him to destroy democracy. We the people will not stand by when he tries to legalize racist xenophobic actions in our country. We hold him, and all federal, state, and local authorities responsible for the safety and civil rights of all who live in this city and around the country.