I hope that 5780 goes down in history as the year of strength and unity.
We have been experiencing and witnessing a seemingly never-ending onslaught of challenges this year: a global pandemic that has ravaged our community; the highest rates of antisemitism in decades; the erupting of anger over centuries of systemic racism on the streets of Atlanta and other American centers; the push of bigoted extremists into mainstream platforms; and the passing of our civil rights icons. The pressure is heavy to find our way through these challenges and to plot a path forward where we can all, once again, hold hands and cross the bridge together.
Yet, to take a step back, this is exactly what we are doing (albeit over Zoom and in our homes). Through these challenges, we have learned how much we really need each other, and how we can stay connected across geography, differences, generational divides and purpose, no matter the hurdle. Our relationships and partnerships bring us tremendous meaning every day, even through our screens.
Through the challenges, we have learned how strong and resilient we all are and more importantly, how strong and resilient we are together. We face the loneliness of a pandemic through non-stop Zoom meetings and programs, never letting the isolation win. We face surging antisemitism by constantly standing up and ensuring it isn’t normalized and doing so arm-in-arm with our non-Jewish friends.
We dive into the momentum around addressing systemic racism by educating ourselves and learning how to be true allies and advocates. We fight extremism in coalition with all who are impacted by it. And we take the stories of our civil rights icons to give us purpose, strategy and tenacity as we move civil rights forward.
We turn challenge into determined strength, together.
Dr. Allison Padilla-Goodman is the vice president of the Southern division of ADL.