Statement regarding the rise in anti-Semitism

We at MCCJ deplore the recent increase in anti-Semitic acts throughout the world as well as here in South Florida.  There is no excuse for hate crimes; they undermine efforts to create secure communities where all can live without fear in a peace that affirms the dignity that is every human’s birthright.

We invite all people of good will to stand with us in Miami as we strive to hold high the ideals of a unity that rejects violence, vandalism and verbal attacks of intolerance.  We will continue to work with our partners in the Jewish community, as well as with those of other faiths, races, political persuasions and differences, to promote and protect respectful dialogue toward greater understanding and inclusivity of everyone with whom we share life in our fragile world.


Statement regarding the Gaza-Israel conflict

In keeping with MCCJ’s mission to build bridges of understanding between all people, we are encouraged by the ceasefire declared in the conflict in Israel and Gaza. As we mourn the suffering caused by the devastation and the loss of life, we offer our continuing prayers for those who will pursue the difficult path toward lasting peace. May all be able to live together with the dignity and security people everywhere deserve.


Statement regarding the Derek Chauvin Conviction in the murder of George Flyod

Last year the world watched in horror as a man died with a knee on his neck. As former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder on all counts in the death of George Floyd, we know there is still much to do. The strife within each of us as Americans, and within our communities, reminds us that the struggle for equity and equality has existed longer than our country’s founding. It will continue to exist unless we do something different.

At MCCJ, we endeavor daily to forge connections and deepen levels of understanding, encourage courageous conversations, and invoke empathy through interaction. Our mission to embrace diversity and build an inclusive community welcomes the power of unique perspectives, while sharing the responsibility to overcome the challenges that varying perspectives will sometimes present.

As James Baldwin so eloquently stated, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” The irony is, even if the pain is ignored, it still exists. And that’s one reason we are here, to help us address the process of healing our historical pain.

MCCJ stands with every human being in Miami, as we are all human becomings…working daily to be better today than yesterday, so we leave something better for the humans who will inherit tomorrow. It was concern about discord that brought MCCJ together 86 years ago, and it will take every last one of us to dismantle the hundreds of years of pain, hate, bigotry, and violence that continue to transpire almost daily. This is true whether the challenge is racism, cultural bias, sexism, or religious intolerance.

Together, WE in Miami can be a model of success. WE can show the world what can be accomplished through discussing difficulties. WE CAN BE THE CHANGE THAT WE WISH TO SEE, as Mahatma Gandhi said. Reach out to join MCCJ in our mission to embrace diversity. Help us to continue building an inclusive community where every person feels they belong, and their voice is heard.

Together, we can do so much more! Because we are so much more alike than we are different, and we all deserve to live with the dignity that should be afforded just because we are human. We leave you with the words of Stephen R. Covey, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” and let that understanding begin first with you.

Nikki Watkins, JD, BSW, MCCJ Associate Executive Director


Statement from the MCCJ Board of Directors on the increased violence against the Asian-American communities during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have been targets of increased discrimination and violence since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as some people inappropriately named the virus after a specific Asian nation. Anti-Semitism has also been on the rise.

Thousands of AAPI have been the victims of racist attacks. Since March 2020, Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian discrimination amid the pandemic, has received more than 2,800 reported incidents of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans across the U.S., including 126 incidents against the elderly.

From Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai elders to Asian-American youth, these communities are fearful of being in public alone, simply going for a walk, or living their daily lives. These incidents are a stark reminder that urgent action must be taken to protect the vulnerable in our communities from discrimination and violence.

Much like MCCJ stood with our Muslim, Black and LGBTQ brothers and sisters, we call upon our national leaders to reverse xenophobic executive orders and policies against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. We ask that policies of public education be prioritized to end racial profiling and engage in diversity, inclusion and equity training and education. We have a long way to go before we can shield our communities from violence and hate crimes, but we must continue to engage the public in advocacy and awareness raising to bridge cultural and racial gaps.

At MCCJ, our mission is Embracing Diversity and Building an Inclusive Community. As we’ve done for more than eight decades, we will continue to bring together different sectors of the community in frank and candid dialogue, aiming at conflict resolution, as well as educating and training young leaders to tackle the challenges of racial inequality, bullying, xenophobia and homophobia.

The state of California recently allocated $1.4 million to the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and to Stop AAPI Hate to help address anti-Asian hate incidents and crimes.

We call on our state leaders to follow suit to allocate the necessary resources to prevent and curtail acts of violence and hate aimed at AAPI people and other minorities.

Local and state governments should also establish new partnerships with organizations, private businesses, non-profits and government agencies to educate our communities and prevent increased violence. We applaud Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava for recently forming the new Office of Equity and Inclusion (Miami-Dade Mayor opens new office to address equity and inclusion (local10.com). Additionally, MCCJ has collaborated in the past with the Miami-Dade County Asian American Advisory Board and plans to continue to work together toward a more inclusive Miami.


Miami Herald Article published December 31, 2020 and written by MCCJ Silver Medallion Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields on the 85th Anniversary of MCCJ:

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article248197305.html


MCCJ congratulates Joy Reid on the premiere of MSNBC’s new show “The ReidOut” on Monday, July 20th at 7 pm ET. Reid is making journalism history by being the first black woman to host a prime-time talk show on a major US network.

In 2016, Reid received the coveted Hank Meyer Headliner Award given by MCCJ to journalists of national standing whose contributions in journalism are aligned with MCCJ’s mission of building an inclusive community.

Please refer to the July 18th Miami Herald article by clicking the link below.
https://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/tv/article244253597.html (subscription required)


As our country struggles with a pandemic, the unfolding story of George Floyd, who died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, sends chills down our spines. We find ourselves asking the same question Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked in a speech he gave March 25, 1965, in Alabama: “How long?” And in the context of meaning and hope, his answer was: “Not long, because no lie can live forever.” While it is true that “no lie can live forever,” people across the country have been glued to their screens watching in horror how Mr. Floyd lost his life.  The tragedy of continued police violence and brutality toward people of color is incomprehensible and completely unacceptable. It’s hard to imagine children growing up in fear, seeing the adults in their lives be deprived of their dignity and human rights at the hands of law enforcement, a failed justice system, and the divisive, cowardly rhetoric and lack of leadership from elected officials. Fear, anger and frustration have resulted in violent protests in several cities including Minneapolis, New York, Charlotte, Atlanta and now ours. Miami’s mostly peaceful protest Saturday sadly took a turn for the worse at dusk. Violence, looting and destructive behavior are not the answer, and certainly not in the spirit of Dr. King’s – and our – vision for America. The mission of MCCJ is embracing diversity; building an inclusive community. Peaceful protests, candid dialogue and building bridges of deeper understanding are keys to ending inequality and keeping open the doors to “liberty and justice for all.” We condemn the actions of the officers involved in the death of George Floyd, and encourage peaceful demonstrations in support of a just and inclusive Miami. As we have many times over the last eight decades, we stand ready to help establish the kinds of interactions that lead to lasting peace and equality.   It will take real commitment to action and efforts by people of goodwill to dismantle the current barriers to justice.


With sadness and shock we condemn the shooting at the Congregation Chabad in Poway, California as violence and hate arrives again at another house of worship from Sri Lanka, to New Zealand, to Pittsburgh, to Sutherland Springs, to Charleston and beyond. We extend our deepest condolences to all those affected by this senseless violence and to their family and friends who are in our thoughts prayers.  MCCJ  renews its calls to loudly and unequivocally denounce hateful rhetoric against our Jewish, Muslim and Christian brothers and sisters and for action by all communities — officials and citizens — to find ways to address violence before another hate crime comes knocking at the door of our Temple, Mosque or Church. MCCJ  is dedicated to advancing understanding among different cultures, religions, backgrounds and races based on interfaith respect and good will.


MCCJ joins our Jewish brothers and sisters, communities, and all people of good will in expressing our indignation, dismay and heartbreak over the senseless murder of innocents at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. We all upon all to join us to stand united against such evil and wickedness, and to prove that Love truly conquers Hate.

Everyone’s strengths make us stronger [link]


Letter to the Editor of The Miami Herald
January 13, 2018 09:44 PM

A note of gratitude to the 300,000 Haitian Americans who live in South Florida. How lucky we are to have so much brilliance, resilience and talent coming our way from the first post-colonial black-led nation in the world, and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a slave rebellion. Thank you for strengthening our region.

As a city built and sustained by immigrants, we have much to learn from our brothers and sisters who join us from all parts of the world, bringing diverse perspectives and experiences to our collective table.

For those who join us escaping war or dictatorship, thank you for standing with us to build a city that understands the value of democracy, and that protects the rights of all people furiously. We need your perspective, your voices and your votes to help steer our great nation constantly in a direction of equity and justice.

Those who have joined us seeking refuge from environmental disasters, thank you for standing with us to build a city that increasingly prioritizes sustainability and environmental thoughtfulness. Your voices serve as a critical alarm bell of how we must protect our shorelines, our waters, our roads and our neighborhoods.

Those who have joined us to take advantage of our favorable tax codes, thank you for investing in our growing economy, solidifying our standing as a hub for innovation and business.

Whether you moved here for the weather, for love, for business or for safety, we are stronger because of you.

We are having a critical moment of identity as a nation where we grapple with how to make room for the diverse perspectives of people who truly do not agree about how to best strengthen our economy, how to best secure our borders and how to best live out our promises of equity and opportunity for all. It is in moments like these when we must all muster the courage to look one another directly in the eyes, and remind ourselves of our most essential of values.

REBECCA FISHMAN LIPSEY, CLAUDIA GRILLO, ROBERTA SHEVIN, MIAMI

PROCLAMATION OF MCCJ CLERGY DIALOGUE ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM [PDF]

December 10, 2015

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [sic] to do nothing.”
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he [sic] who did nothing because he [sic] could do only a little.”
Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

“Silence
becomes cowardice
when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

“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.”
Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

NOT IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, USA

NOT IN THE 21st CENTURY

NOT US

The undersigned religious and spiritual leaders of Miami-Dade County proclaim, “Not here, Not now, Not us!  We say no to the current political discourse that would have citizens and residents of the United States of America acquiesce to a policy of discrimination based upon one’s religious affiliation.”

Name and Religious Affiliation

  1. Rev Diane Shoaf – Christianity, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  2. Eduardo Diaz – Christianity, Miami Friends Meeting (Quaker)
  3. Rabbi Haskell – Bernat Judaism, Reform
  4. Rev Wilifred Allen-Faiella – Christianity, The Episcopal Church
  5. Mohammed Siddiq Khan – Islam
  6. Rev Eve Tolley – Christianity, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  7. Rev Candace Thomas – Christianity, United Church of Christ
  8. Imam Khalid A. Salahuddin – Islam
  9. Rev Dianne Hudder – Christianity, United Church of Christ
  10. Father Patrick H. O’Neill – Christianity, Roman Catholic
  11. Rev Jo-Ann Murphy – Christianity, The Episcopal Church
  12. Rev Al Bunis – Christianity, United Church of Christ
  13. Rev Martha (Missy) Shiverock – Christianity, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  14. Rev Priscilla Felisky Whitehead – Christianity, United Church of Christ
  15. Imam Abdul Hamid Samra – Islam
  16. Dr. Grace Telesco – Interfaith
  17. Khalid Mirza – Islam
  18. Rev Tom Pokorni – Christianity
  19. Kevin David – Christianity
  20. Jamil H. Rizvi – Islam
  21. Mehmet Ulutas – Islam
  22. Norman Hemming – Christianity, Church of God
  23. Rabbi Frederick L. Klein – Judaism
  24. Rabbi Solomon Schiff – Judaism
  25. Rev Laurinda Hafner – Christianity, United Church of Christ
  26. Rev Dr Elias Bouboutsis – Christianity, Greek Orthodox
  27. Rabbi Rachel G. Greengrass – Judaism
  28. Rabbi Marc Philippe de Roca – Judaism
  29. Arelle Shimko – Judaism
  30. Rev Jose Manuel Capella-Pratts – Christianity, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  31. Rabbi Judith Siegal – Judaism
  32. Rev Harold Thompson – Christianity, United Church of Christ

December 8, 2015

MCCJ STATEMENT ON THE VILIFICATION OF MUSLIMS & BAN ON GRANTING ENTRY TO MUSLIMS INTO THE UNITED STATES [PDF]

A founding principle of the United States of America is freedom of religion.  Participants in the mission of MCCJ to foster mutual understanding represent the diversity of many faith traditions and countries of origin typical of our nation.  Thus, we vigorously oppose both any kind of religious litmus test for persons wishing to enter this country and the blanket condemnation of adherents of a particular religion.  The recent public vilification of Muslims by political candidates is unacceptable and wrong.  The perceived threats from any refugees and immigrants can be addressed by our nation’s current laws and policies applied judiciously and equitably.  We call upon all people to stand together in rejecting language and proposals, as well as actions, that fuel division and hatred within our communities.

Johann A. Ali                                                     Roberta Shevin
Chair, Board of Directors                                     Executive Director

“MCCJ is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, and neither endorses nor opposes candidates for political office.”


MCCJ STATEMENT REGARDING THE TRAGEDY AT EMANUEL AME CHURCH IN CHARLESTON, SC

MCCJ is dedicated to eliminating intolerance.  We profoundly believe every person has the right to live in dignity and enjoy respect, regardless of race, and to be free from acts of bias, bigotry and racism. The senseless, soulless crime at the AME church in Charleston reminds us of the importance of standing up against hate-inspired acts of violence.  We encourage people of goodwill to not sit on the sidelines, but to take responsibility to ensure that all citizens are treated with dignity, can worship safely, and that the ongoing privilege of some does not result in oppression for others.

As the nation mourns the loss of the nine innocent victims, a key issue which needs to be part of the national conversation is the systemic nature of racism, which seeps into our consciousness and inserts bias into our own views.  Our hope is that the loss of their lives will not be in vain, but be the catalyst for a deeper introspection and a resolve among all Americans to embrace the diversity of our country and build an inclusive community

Johann A. Ali

MCCJ Board Chair


MCCJ STATEMENT REGARDING FERGUSON

During this time of intense emotion, conflict and heartbreaking loss of life, we keep the families most involved and the entire city of Ferguson in our thoughts and prayers; may peace prevail so that fear can diminish and violence be channeled into respectful protest. We hope that both those who favor and those who disagree with the grand jury’s decision will remember that it continues to be up to all of us, as citizens of our great nation, to claim our shared goal of justice for all, and to work together to find solutions for the problems that continue to arise and challenge our successfully reaching that goal.

Michelle Ramirez Patricios
MCCJ Board Chair

JOINT STATEMENT REGARDING RECENT HATE CRIMES IN OUR COMMUNITY

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:

As people of diverse faiths who are members of organizations committed to fostering dialogue and understanding within our community, we are deeply concerned and outraged about the defacing of Congregation Torah V’Emunah in North Miami Beach and the vandalism directed at an identifiable Jewish family’s cars in Miami Beach.  Sadly, this is not the first time that visible expressions of faith have come under attack; we recall similar desecration of a local mosque in the recent past.

Despite our own varying opinions, passionate emotions and political views about what is taking place today in Israel and Gaza, and other countries in the Middle East, we nonetheless feel that this is the time for people of good will everywhere to work together for peace and tranquility.  That begins by first steps right here at home; an attack on any individual or institution based upon their belief or religion is an attack upon all of us.  We deplore these cowardly acts in our community and call upon the appropriate authorities to pursue these as “hate crimes” and to prosecute the culprits to the full extent of the law.

Let us here in Miami model for the world how people of many faiths can live in harmony with one another, respecting our differences and standing united to fight hate or bigotry wherever it is found.

MCCJ ( formerly Miami Coalition of Christians & Jews)

COSMOS, Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations

AJC, American Jewish Committee

Jewish Community Relations Council of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation


THE BUTLER TELLS STORY OF HARD TRUTHSTHE BUTLER
Leonard Pitts for the Miami Herald August 21, 2013
This isn’t your average summer movie crowd. It’s not just that they are largely African American, skin in all the shades of buttermilk, caramel and creamless coffee that we call “black.”  It’s not just that they are largely old, with raincloud hair and been-there eyes, some leaning on canes for support. Read more


Trayvon-Martin-2I AM TRAYVON MARTIN
Leonard Pitts for the Chicago Tribune, July 24, 2013
“There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.” -Barrack Obama. I am Trayvon Martin. Distill it to its marrow, and that is what African-Americans have been telling other Americans. Read more


Childhood-Bullying-300x271[1]EFFECTS OF BULLYING LAST INTO ADULTHOOD, STUDY FINDS
Catherine Saint Louis for the New York Times, February 20, 2013
Victims of bullying at school, and bullies themselves, are more likely to experience psychiatric problems in childhood, studies have shown. Now researchers have found that elevated risk of psychiatric trouble extends into adulthood, sometimes even a decade after the intimidation has ended. Read More.


time islamaphobiaISLAMOPHOBIA: DOES AMERICA HAVE A MUSLIM PROBLEM?
Bobby Ghosh for Time Magazine, August 30, 2010
To experience what it feels like to be a Muslim in America today, walk in the shoes of Dr. Mansoor Mirza of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. It’s a February evening, and you’re at a meeting of the planning commission of Wilson (pop. 3,200), which is considering your application to open a mosque in the nearby village of Oostburg. Read more.


make-your-race-card2THE RACE CARD PROJECT
Michelle Norris for NPR
NPR’s partnership with The Race Card Project explores a different kind of conversation about race. We ask people to think about their experiences, observations, triumphs, laments, theories or anthem about race or cultural identity. Then they take those thoughts and distill them down to one six-word sentence. Read more.