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Davis: Safety funding will defend Tucson Jewish Museum & different native nonprofits amid spike in threats

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The Jewish Group Relations Council for Tucson & Southern Arizona, together with our interfaith associates and neighbors, applauds the current passage of the Nonprofit Safety Grant Program Fund within the Arizona state funds.

In passing this provision, Arizona lawmakers acknowledged the native implications of nationwide developments. In accordance with the Anti-Defamation League’s most up-to-date audit, 3,697 antisemitic incidents had been reported within the U.S. final 12 months, marking a 36% improve from the 12 months earlier than. That is the biggest quantity since ADL started monitoring such incidents in 1979, and the third time previously 5 years that the year-end complete has damaged earlier data.

The ADL report is simply the tip of the iceberg, as many of those incidents go unreported.

Since 2004, nonprofit organizations across the nation, together with dozens in our local people, have benefited from federal nonprofit safety grants, administered by the Division of Homeland Safety. This system gives assist for safety enhancements and initiatives, together with planning and coaching, to nonprofit organizations which might be at excessive danger of assault attributable to their mission, identification, or beliefs. Over the previous fiscal 12 months, organizations across the nation acquired $250.1 million for goal hardening and different bodily safety enhancements.

That quantity is giant, however the want nonetheless outstrips out there funds. In 2021, greater than 3,000 candidates requested roughly $400 million, making a $200 million hole between requests and monetary assist.

Moreover, the federal program doesn’t grant these funds up entrance, and the reimbursement course of will be onerous or just out of attain for organizations with restricted assets. The brand new state program, signed into legislation final month by Arizona Gv. Katie Hobbs, will assist decrease these limitations, offering $5 million in grant funding for safety enhancements in small- and medium-size nonprofits and homes of worship all through the state. Monies shall be allotted at $1 million a 12 months over 5 years: organizations, businesses, and congregations who’re prone to violence due to their beliefs or mission are eligible for as much as $100,000 yearly.

Tucson Jewish Museum and Holocaust Middle (dwelling to the JCRC for Tucson & Southern Arizona) and our next-door neighbor, Prince Chapel AME Church, are simply two of the native organizations who stand to learn from this program. We’re each nonprofit organizations with small staffs and restricted budgets, and have every skilled acts of vandalism within the final 12 months, necessitating costly repairs. We anticipate that extra safety measures, made attainable by these state grants, will assist create safer campuses, safer neighborhoods, and safer group.

This state measure, sponsored by Sen. David Gowan (R-LD 19), acquired overwhelming bipartisan assist, and the passage of the invoice was an train in collaboration and coalition constructing. Coordinated efforts by Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, religious chief of Congregation Kehillah in Scottsdale; Rev. Katie Sexton-Wooden, govt director of the Arizona Religion Community; and my JCRC colleague in Phoenix, Paul Rockower, communicate to the interfaith and intercultural significance of those assets. Assist from Mixed Jewish Philanthropies (Phoenix) and Jewish Philanthropies for Southern Arizona additionally contributed to the initiative’s success.

Simply final week, in his preface to the brand new U.S. Nationwide Technique to Fight Antisemitism, President Joe Biden mentioned, “Perpetrators of hate purpose to upend our most cherished values… Defending the Jewish group from antisemitism is important to our broader battle towards all types of hate, bigotry, and bias—and to our broader imaginative and prescient of a thriving, inclusive, and numerous democracy.”

That this initiative factors to cross-community solidarity, interagency collaboration, and collective motion as techniques to fight hate is encouraging.

Antisemitism is also known as “the oldest hatred” and it’s appalling that American Jews nonetheless expertise this existential risk. However even whereas our conversations round safety within the Jewish group happen by the lens of antisemitism, we should interact with hate-based and identity-based violence as a community-wide concern. This grant program, and the bipartisan, interfaith collaboration that made it attainable, is one step towards broader cooperation.

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