By Janlee Wong, NASWCA Executive Director
The California Chapter of NASW echoes our sister Pennsylvania Chapter in offering our deepest condolences to the families, friends and communities of the victims in the Squirrel Hill synagogue mass killing.
Yes, some of our leaders have decried the shooting, but some haven’t or not adequately in the eyes of many. Yes, public safety and security have been reinforced but sadly after the evil deed was done.
Mental health professionals have offered their services, and many would like to know how and where. NASW’s National Office will be preparing a statement and it may include further information if available.
But there is something all of us can do, social worker and non-social worker alike. We can do this individually, as a group or organization, as a community or society. We can fight anti-Semitism in every way possible and to the extent of our abilities.
The late Christopher Hitchens in a speech in 2010 at UCLA said “…anti-Semitism is the godfather of racism, the gateway to tyranny, fascism and war. It is to be regarded not as the enemy of the Jewish people alone, but the common enemy of humanity and civilization…”
Hitchens’s approach was to become as well-informed as possible and to be prepared to discuss, debate and challenge anti-Semitism whenever and where ever. With my interns, I ask them to take up a discussion with family, friends or others who have opposing views on such subjects as immigrants, Trump and criminal rehabilitation.
Where policy is made such as in the workplace, schools or policy bodies, show up and speak up. Participate in social action such as rallies, protests or memorial services. Participate in political action not only voting but participating in campaigns or donating money.
Hitchens and I ask you to fight “tenaciously against anti-Semitism and its related forms if humanity and civilization are to survive.”