Photo Credit: Courtesy
Kansas Governor, State Legislature and the Jews of Kansas. April 2023

Last week, the Kansas State Legislature passed a resolution to officially proclaim May as Jewish American Heritage Month for the very first time. In conjunction with local Jewish organizations and the State Legislature, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) hosted a ceremony to celebrate this significant occasion and honor Jewish American veterans and law enforcement for their many contributions to their country.

“I’m proud to support the proclamation to commemorate Jewish American Heritage Month and to recognize our Jewish American community and the important contributions they’ve made throughout our history and culture,” said Kansas House Speaker Dan Hawkins.

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State Representative Susan Estes sponsored and presented the resolution to the House, and State Senator Renee Erickson sponsored and presented the bill in the Senate. The ceremony took place at the Kansas State Capitol, with the support of Hawkins as well as Senate President Ty Masterson. Governor Laura Kelly immediately signed a proclamation thereafter.

“Kansas is made stronger by our Jewish residents and their many contributions,” said Governor Kelly. “Discrimination of any kind, including antisemitism, has no place in Kansas – and as governor, I will continue working to unite Kansans and to celebrate the diversity of our state and our communities.”

“The most vivid awareness of Jewish contributions to American society will always begin at the local level,” said former U.S. Special Envoy Elan Carr, a member of the Combat Antisemitism Movement Advisory Board. “Kansas has done what we hope every state will do in rightfully acknowledging Jewish American Heritage Month every May. In a world where senseless violence and hatred toward Jews seems to abound, it’s vital that every American in every neighborhood throughout the country understand the remarkable blessings that Jewish citizens have bestowed on this land they call home. In addition, the bravery and sacrifice they have made when our freedoms have been under assault deserve their place in history. It’s a heritage I’m proud of and something I pray all will come to appreciate.”

Jewish American Heritage Month was proclaimed at the federal level in 2006, but many states have yet to officially recognize it. In addition to proclaiming May as Jewish American Heritage Month, Kansas is also among the 31 U.S. states to have adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism. CAM encourages all governors and state legislatures to enact similar measures.

Yesterday’s ceremony was hosted in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee (AJC) of Kansas City and the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City.

The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) is a global coalition engaging more than 600 partner organizations and nearly two million people from a diverse array of religious, political, and cultural backgrounds in the common mission of fighting the world’s oldest hatred. CAM acts collaboratively to build a better future, free of bigotry, for Jews and all humanity.

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