Board of Directors: Addressing Rising Hate in our Community

Beloved Together Colorado Community,

As the war between Israel and Hamas drags on, we are reaching out again to acknowledge the ongoing intense pain and suffering of the Jewish and Muslim members in our community. We wrote to you more than 4 months ago when Hamas attacked Israel, killing at least 1200 people and taking 238 hostages, among whom were elders, women, babies and young children, as well as Bedouin citizens of Israel and foreign workers. More than half of the hostages remain in captivity. Israel is responding with a massive attack on Gaza, which to date has killed more than 28,000 people, including more than 12,000 children, crippled basic infrastructure, and left over 70% of Gaza uninhabitable for its 2 million residents.  We have all lost a part of ourselves in this conflict. 

Together Colorado’s mission is grounded in grassroots organizing in the state of Colorado. However, when conflicts and atrocities across the nation or the globe cause ripple effects of hate that impact our members and their families or threaten to increase violence in our communities here in Colorado, we are called to speak out. This letter is a continuation of our statement in October and an evolution of how we must continue to engage, support and transform our current and future situation. As a multifaith and multiracial organization, Together Colorado is committed to continuing to boldly wade into these uncertain and challenging waters so that all God’s people, no exceptions, are able to live a life of dignity.  We trust that we can agree and act on at least two things going forward.

First, since the war started, there has been a frightening increase in Islamophobia and Antisemitism in Colorado, the United States and around the world.  We must act strongly against these evils, whenever and wherever we encounter them. While it may seem obvious what is or isn’t Islamophobic or Antisemitic language and behavior, these evils are insidious. It is easy to injure one another without intending or even realizing we are doing so. 

Everyone’s nerves are raw, and unfortunately there are organizations taking advantage of the situation to gin up more fear and hatred and further divide us from each other. Our primary responsibility therefore is to educate ourselves about the cultural roots and current manifestations of this age old behavior. We must begin taking personal responsibility for the ways we perpetuate these evils (even unknowingly), just as we are learning to take responsibility for the racism that permeates our culture. 

We recommend several resources – see resource sheet. We must speak out whenever we encounter such speech or behavior and guard our own tongues. As so many of us are drawn to social media, we urge careful consideration of the impact of our words and the sites where we choose to participate.

Second, it is important not to succumb to despair and cynicism. While the conflict has a long, complicated and bloody history, there is an equally long and strong history of Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, working together to care for each other and to build peace and reconciliation. We urge you to familiarize yourself with this work, spread the good news and if you are so moved and have the means, support these groups financially. We hope the attached list of resources and organizations will warm your hearts as it has ours – see resource sheet.

As we wade through this dark time, may the love we share strengthen us. May the God of Light and Hope help us bring about peace and justice.

Prayerfully,

Together Colorado Board of Directors
Sharon Battle, President
Vickie Wilhite, Treasurer
Steve Gebhard, Secretary
Angela Tzul
Art Jones
Ilana Steinberg
Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry
Veronica Camargo 

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