The most immediate place to rebuke white supremacy: at the polls
I’ll be honest: I’m still shattered and heartbroken. At too many moments, I find myself full of rage.
But I’m also fiercely determined -- to channel my sorrow and shock and anger into focused work over the next seven days. I hope you’ll join me.
The last few days have seen the worst anti-Semitic slaughter in our country’s history. The largest mass assassination attempt. Two African-Americans seniors murdered in Louisville, Kentucky after the gunman tried to shoot up a black church. All motivated by white supremacist hatred.
As a Jew, the murders of 11 beautiful souls at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Shabbat morning, hit especially close to home. You can honor their lives by reading about Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, who “held a lamp that lit they way” by treating HIV/AIDS patients in the early days of the crisis, Joyce Fienberg (remembered by her nephew Daniel), and each of the others. May their memory be a blessing.
The murderer claimed that he was motivated to kill Jews because of HIAS(founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). HIAS honors our people’s history and values by welcoming refugees fleeing violence in Honduras or war in Syria. I’ve been proud to stand with HIAS -- along with many of you -- many times in recent months: Outside the ICE office at Foley Square, to protest family separation. At Battery Park (the gateway to Ellis Island) against the Muslim ban. For a Hanukkah celebration at Borough Hall to connect our history of religious persecution to our obligations today.
What the murderer hates is the best in our people. But that cannot be killed. Over the weekend, we said kaddish and mourned and sang and consoled each other in Union Square and Prospect Park and far beyond. Now, after saying kaddish, we’ve got work to do.
Combating hatred and white supremacy will last many years. The struggle to build a genuinely inclusive multiracial democracy, that welcomes all of us, will last for our lifetimes. There will be time to debate the role of social media and segregation, to talk about how we rebuild trust across a political chasm that has grown so vast that it’s hard to listen (for me, at least, without feeling ill).
But our short term obligation is very clear.
The most immediate place for us to rebuke white supremacy is at the polls.
So please: For the next seven days, volunteer to help get-out-the-vote, with as many shifts as you can give between now and Election Day.There are so many vital causes to GOTV for. Work wherever you are inspired.
Go knock doors for one of the Democrats running to take back the House in New York (I’ve been working with Liuba Grechen Shirley, Max Rose, and Antonio Delgado), New Jersey, or Pennsylvania (I’m super-inspired by Jess King and the work of Lancaster Stands Up, supported by GOBK’s Water for Grassroots).
Or help Andrew Gounardes in Southern Brooklyn, or one of the other contested New York State Senate seats (City & State has determined that 14 are still in play). If we take back the State Senate, New York State can be a beacon of justice in the coming years.
Or support inspiring candidates like Stacey Abrams (read Brooklynite Michelle Goldberg’s “We Can Replace Them” on why Georgia is an especially critical place to rebuke white nationalism), Andrew Gillum, or Beto O’Rourke, who represent the America we dream of.
Get Organized BK working groups have canvas events on the calendar every dayfrom now through the election. You can do phone-banking or texting from home through Red2Blue, Indivisible, SwingLeft, or the Working Families Party.
If you’d like help finding the best way to plug in, we’re glad to help. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to join me this weekend...
On Saturday, for Liuba Grechen Shirley on Long Island.
On Sunday, for Max Rose & Andrew Gounardes in Southern Brooklyn.
If you’d like to join me for either day, please email Asher email@example.com.
If you’d like to join me on Election Day…
In the morning I’ll be opening a poll site at 6am for Liuba on Long Island. I’ll be leaving from Park Slope at 5am. If you are interested in leaving in the morning with me and arranging your own way back, please email Asher firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s leave it all on the field.
Then … Join Our Election Night Watch Party at The Bell House
Join me, GOBK, CBID, and Assemblymember Bobby Carroll for an election night results watch party at the Bell House. The evening starts at 8pm with comedy, music, and special guests. At 9pm we’ll turn it over to the big screen as we watch the results roll in. Hopefully, we’ll celebrate a big blue wave. In any case, we will honor the GOTV work we’ve done together ... and build solidarity for the struggles ahead.
We are living in a political climate that has unleashed white supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia -- prejudice and violence against so many communities. Ever since the murders and the bombs, the President of the United States has continued to incite xenophobia: By seeking to end the 14th Amendment provision of birthright citizenship. By falsely claiming that a caravan of migrants, seeking refuge from the violence in their home country, has been infiltrated by terrorists that seek to do harm in the United States.
We will not let that be our legacy. We will stand together, in the streets, in our synagogues and churches and mosques, and especially at the polls. We will build a world from love.
We are indeed like the murderer’s worst nightmare: a caravan, marching in solidarity, toward a world of justice.
With some stops for GOTV along the way.
P.S. Tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. at the Fort Hamilton N Train Station, I’ll be joining Andrew Gounardes’ MTA Day of Action.
Andrew is running for State Senate against Marty Golden. Golden’s staffer invited the Proud Boys to speak in NYC, with their white nationalist bile & violence, and he still hasn’t fired or disciplined him. If you can’t fire a staffer for welcoming white supremacy into our city, at this moment, you don’t deserve to be in public office.
Plus, we really need better subway service. So, please come join us.