Program on Anti-Semitism, February 26, 2015


Remarks from Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County

Our city is a place where discrimination should never be tolerated and the recent racist and anti-Semitic property damage communicated on the homes of our neighbors is being condemned by some but in REALITY we all should be outraged by these activities. It is a reminder that we need to be diligent and support one another when these situations occur.


It is up to EACH of us in this room---- and our community at large to make our city a place where every person in this city can live free of discrimination and racism. Our city is a community of immigrants made up of Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Filipinos and the Jewish community just to name a few. It is the fabric of our collective communities that makes our city "one city united for all" and we must protect our communities from those who seek to harm one strand of that fabric.


Unfortunately, there are hurtful voices in our community who attempt to divide and scare us! We have to remember, when these situations occur that our next generation of children is watching what we say in public! They are watching what we say behind closed doors. Our kids are watching all of us!


Let's unite and let's denounce these kinds of activities when they happen, no matter what your race or culture may be. Let's not allow racism, and scare tactics to hinder our community from reaching its full potential. Let's work to foster a level of fellowship with people outside of our own races and cultures so we can get to know each other-just a little bit better.


Our city will not be able to solve our biggest community challenges if we don't get to know each other better and share meaningful dialogue. It should not surprise us to see these divides because (many times) there is no relationship with other cultures that foster a history of good will and friendship. The African American community and the Jewish community share a great history!!!


Let me conclude by sharing a quote from someone I admire that had a great relationship with the Jewish community during the civil right era. The Honorable Rev. Martin Luther King!! The good reverend once said, "People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other."


I want to share with you that leaders from the nonprofit community in this city denounce these actions and leaders from the African American community also denounce these actions and we stand in solidarity with your community tonight.