NEW HAVEN – On the fifth night of Hanukkah , New Haven’s chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace used the group's collective voices to challenge Islamophobia and fight racism.
Members gathered on the corner of Chapel and College streets holding nine signs to symbolize the nine candles in the Hanukkah menorah. Each sign displayed a promise such as, “We will not be silent about anti-Muslim and racist hate speech and hate crimes,” or “We fight anti-Muslim profiling and racial profiling in all its forms.”
For eight nights, Jews in different cities, including New York City, Miami, Chicago, Washington, DC, Portland (Oregon), Durham, Columbus, Seattle, Atlanta, Boston, Ithaca and Denver will be holding up these signs and reading aloud each commitment in a public space.
On the eighth and last night of Hanukkah, all of these cities, including New Haven, plan to hold up the statements again to rekindle their fight for peace.
“It’s immoral, it’s illegal to discriminate against people and to do the kinds of things that are being done,” said Shelly Altman, co-chair of New Haven’s Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. “If we put ourselves in the position of someone who is a target of Islamophobia, the fear of expressing themselves, of following their faith, of being spat upon, of being in physical danger is not something that we can stand for and we have to stand with these people even if we’re not the threatened ones.”