Opinion: Pilgrim Place calls for city action after alleged hate incident
An open letter to the members of the Claremont Committee on Human Relations:
Residents of our Pilgrim Place residential community recently brought a hate incident to the attention of our diversity, equity, inclusion, and recruitment advisory group. This group is composed of Pilgrim Place residents and staff to advise staff and administration on the issues of diversity and inclusion.
On April 16, vehicles parked along Harrison Avenue were reportedly leafletted with antisemitic literature distributed by the so-called “Goyim Defense League.” (“Goyim” is the Hebrew word for non-Jews or “the nations.”) Three retirement communities, including ours, border on Harrison Avenue, where the incident occurred. Members of the Jewish faith are residents of our communities, and Pilgrim Place regards this matter with great concern.
Hate incidents have increased dramatically in recent years, reaching nearly 3,700 reported nationwide in 2022, according to the Anti-Defamation League and other sources. These incidents and the subsequent crimes they motivate have a detrimental impact not only on those attacked, but on each of us. We must not tolerate such behavior. It diminishes the fundamental safety and quality of life of all citizens in our democracy.
We fervently appeal to the Claremont Committee on Human Relations to strengthen its commitment to its described goals of educating the citizens of Claremont and in raising awareness of hate incidents.
In the face of nationalism and socialism in 1930s Germany, pastor Martin Niernöller’s confession of inaction from an impromptu speech against fascism is quoted here:
“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Today, other targeted communities subject to hate and intolerance can certainly be added to this list.
It is our duty both individually and as civic representatives to act to prevent additional hate incidents and crimes. We encourage the Claremont Committee on Human Relations to lead us into sincere and authentic action rejecting such hate incidents in our community.
Ron Bolding Jim Dwyer
CEO, Pilgrim Place Pilgrim Place resident and co-chair, DEIRAG