Thanks to my friend Sue Fishkoff of The Working Group for reminding me how critically important it was to spend the morning of my only day off at an organizing meeting of the San Francisco chapter of Not In Our Town, NIOT. She put alot of love and cajoling into getting me there – for all the right reasons!
A week prior, I had written an article about the need to for Jews to remain integrally involved and engaged with the greater community – to keep a place at the table in public discourse. Jews have been stigmatized and targeted throughout history; especially during the middle ages and during WWII. Coalition building, developing strong allies, and making powerful and supportive connections are critically important. This is why I became involved and continue to remain engaged with the San Francisco Interfaith Council, SFIC, and the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council, JCRC. I really appreciate these folks and now have greater respect for the important work they do in making our world, our global village, a safer and kinder place.
Having attended the NIOT meeting, a few days later when I learned that the Westboro Baptist Church / Phelps family was targeting our community, I immediately reached out Victor Hwang (Assistant District Attorney of San Francisco whom I sat next to at the NIOT organizing meeting), Theresa Sparks (SF City Council Member who sat directly in front of me) and the Rev. Michael Pappas of the Interfaith Council to ask for some practical support in helping us respond to this sensationalist Hate group.
I am grateful for what the folks are building at NIOT and am glad to now be part of it. I pray that our collective effort to eliminate hatred in our community be for good.
It was exciting to attend the spring 2010 launch of the NIOT website in San Francisco at the Bay Area Video Coalition, BAVC. They are doing amazing work. Check them out!