June 3, 2019 — Washington, D.C.
Three members of Congress, addressing the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum today, announced the launch of the bipartisan Black-Jewish congressional caucus.
The caucus’s creation follows on a January meeting with AJC’s National Leadership Council, where Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) spoke about the urgent need to bring together African-Americans and Jews.
Caucus co-founders, in addition to Lawrence, are Reps. Will Hurd (R-TX) John Lewis (D-GA), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY). Reps Lawrence, Zeldin and Wasserman-Schultz addressed the AJC Global Forum on behalf of the five co-founders.
“The African-American and Jewish communities have a history of standing together for the promotion of social justice and civil rights. There are very few segments of America that have invested themselves in these struggles as much as these communities,” said Lawrence. “To encourage and nurture this unique partnership, I have formed the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations with the hopes of strengthening the trust and advancing our issues in a collective manner.”
The Black Jewish Caucus will assemble politicians from both communities, and both sides of the aisle, to learn from each other and advocate for joint concerns. The Caucus will:
- Raise awareness of each community’s sensitivities and needs, in Congress and around the country.
- Provide resources to members of Congress to empower them to bring African-American and Jewish communities together, combating stereotypes and hate and showcasing commonalities.
“For generations, the Jewish and African-American communities have stood together, helping each other overcome their greatest challenges and triumphing in the face of sweeping discrimination, all while securing a brighter future for all Americans, but our work is not yet finished,” said Congressman Zeldin. “It is clear our communities are still the target of hate and discrimination, and we will not stand idly by. It’s an honor to join my colleagues to further defend and promote this profound relationship through the formation of the Black-Jewish Caucus.”
AJC has long advocated for promoting pluralism, the quintessential American value, and partnered with a broad range of ethnic and faith leaders to continuously strengthen our nation’s commitment to that ideal. Our specific work in advancing civil rights and Black-Jewish relations began well over a century ago and has continued ever since. The Black-Jewish Congressional Caucus joins the Latino-Jewish Congressional Caucus, Latino-Jewish Leadership Council, and Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council.
“The Jewish tradition teaches that it is incumbent upon us to speak out and act against injustice. African American and Jewish communities have a long, shared history of confronting discrimination and racism in the United States, and the rise of white supremacy threatens both of our communities,” said Wasserman Schultz. “The Caucus will build upon our common fight for a better world, while raising awareness in Congress about the issues facing our communities. My hope is that generations to come will live in an America without antisemitism, racism, intolerance, and hatred.”
The AJC Global Forum, taking place June 2-4 in Washington, D.C., is the advocacy organization’s signature annual event, bringing together nearly 2,500 civic, political, and Jewish leaders from across the United States and 50 countries around the world.