JCA Executive Director Carin Mrotz recently spoke at a press conference with Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) about the importance of solidarity and rejecting partisan attacks meant to divide communities and scapegoat Jews.
Those remarks, as prepared for delivery, are reproduced here.
My name is Carin Mrotz, and I’m the executive director of Jewish Community Action. We organize Jews statewide in Minnesota for racial and economic justice. As Jews around the country, in places like Michigan and New York and South Carolina, are organizing alongside other communities for immigrant rights, for criminal justice reform, for access to healthcare and affordable housing, we recognize that our identities have been weaponized - to other us, to divide us from our likeliest allies, and to weaken our collective movements for justice.
We recognize and resist the way that our community’s values and diversity have been flattened and erased by a president and administration who seek only to use us as a pawn in attacks against his political opponents. Our community has been used as a tool - by those pretending to be concerned with our safety - to undermine the solidarity we know is needed in order to achieve justice.
And we recognize and resist the way that the same has been done to our Muslim neighbors and we stand with them and against the Islamophobia and racism that’s being wielded against them. Our oppression and our resistance are intertwined. We have been pitted against each other - our communities targeted, and our identities weaponized by those who have never stood with us. We have been dehumanized in service of a white nationalist agenda and our greatest power in resisting that is in our solidarity.
The president and this administration have engaged in a calculated campaign to label us as something other than Americans, tribal above all else, to define our identities for us, to pigeonhole us, to tell us what issues we care about, and to tell us who our enemies are. While defending the actions of neo-Nazis, while running ads and raising money with antisemitic language, while lifting up the leadership of members of congress who actively target us, they want to co-opt our freedom, define our oppression, and then use it to turn us against each other.
But we will not turn away from one another, we will stand together — not just for our own safety and survival, but in the pursuit of justice and peace everywhere.