The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) has an initiative underway to encourage mayors across the United States to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM).
As a first step, Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia, distributed a letter encouraging his fellow mayors in the US Conference of Mayors to join him in proclaiming and celebrating JAHM in cities across the nation this upcoming May.
In his letter, Stoney wrote, “As we’ve seen in the news and in our own backyards, antisemitism has been rising at an alarming rate across the United States. Jewish residents of our respective cities deserve to feel safe in their homes, neighborhoods and communities. The resurgence of this ancient hatred is a threat not just to Jewish people, but to all who value human dignity, inclusion and compassion.”
More than 50 mayors across the United States have signed on so far to Mayor Stoney’s letter and are beginning to craft plans for celebrations this May.
In 2006, Congress unanimously passed a resolution urging “… the President to issue each year a proclamation calling on state and local governments and the people of the United States to observe an American Jewish History Month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.” Every President from both parties has made such a declaration each year since.
“Formally recognizing Jewish American Heritage Month sends a clear statement of thanks and support to the Jewish community for its many contributions to American culture, and also affirms our commitment to stand with Jewish Americans in opposition to antisemitism and hate in all its forms,” Stoney said.
“We appreciate efforts of municipal leaders to condemn and help root out antisemitic activity in their communities as hate crimes and hate speech continue to rise. However, we also want to be able to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of Jewish American heritage, which dates back to 1654, and the contributions of Jewish Americans to the history and aspirations of our country,” CAM Director of North American Affairs, Rebecca Rose noted.
Stoney is no stranger to fighting antisemitism: He was a keynote speaker at CAM’s Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism in Athens, Greece in December 2022, alongside New York City Mayor Eric Adams. The current initiative follows through on a pledge made at that Summit to proactively combat antisemitism on the local level.