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Tucson clergy: All must speak against antisemitic hate crimes

As Tucson-area clergy committed to love, justice, and solidarity, we unite to condemn the recent antisemitic hate crime perpetrated against Jewish members of our community at Chabad on River. We further denounce additional incidents of antisemitic threats and vandalism that have sought to sow hate and fear here in Pima County in recent weeks, and call on our Christian colleagues and all people of faith and conscience to speak and act against this violent hate.

Tucson prides itself on being a progressive, inclusive area for all, but these white supremacist actions—which reflect a similar, disturbing national trend—underscore the critical local work still needed to confront hateful ideologies with specific conversations, practices, and policies. The freedom to feel welcome and safe here does not belong to anyone until it belongs to everyone. Right now, our Jewish neighbors need our embodied solidarity.

We, as faith leaders, condemn racism and hate crimes locally and across our nation and we stand committed to building relationships and doing the difficult work of breaking barriers and having hard conversations. We are devoted to supporting and empowering all people in Tucson and Pima County to live together in peace and without fear because we know and respect one another.

We cannot attain that peace while incidents like the hateful action targeting Chabad on River and Tucson’s entire Jewish community continue.

Therefore, we are taking a stand against this white supremacist act that seeks to intimidate and sow fear here in Tucson and Pima County. We ask all people of faith and conscience to join us in denouncing all white supremacist actions, including vandalism, physical violence, or verbal intimidation.

Much of this work begins in our Christian churches, who for millennia — in teachings and actions both explicit and implicit — perpetuated and incited antisemitic biased violence. Regardless of theological worldview, no church is exempt from needing to take abundant, intentional care in dismantling antisemitic bias and misguided understandings of scripture and the way our world operates.

We pray for and support our local leaders who hold the perpetrators of this racist vandalism accountable. The perpetrators of such hateful acts need to know the consequences of these violations committed against our neighbors. We pray for repentance from the perpetrators, who believe they can desecrate the Divine Love given to each of us at creation and lessen the human dignity of our neighbors.

White supremacy and racist actions undermine and actively destroy peace, safety, and possibilities for unity. We believe committed love is greater than intimidation and fear.

We know that peace, safety, and unity cannot come to our community without accountability and justice for all. We will continue to speak, teach and act through our lives committed to love and justice for all. We ask that you join.

  • Rev. Seth Wispelwey, Rincon Congregational United Church of Christ
  • Rev, Drew Terry, Oro Valley United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Dr. Randy Mayer, The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ
  • Rev. John Angiulo, Casas Adobes United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Dr. Rebecca McElfresh, The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Michael Bush, Casas Adobes United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Mike Lonergan, Church of the Painted Hills United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Dr. M. Larkin Rossiter, United Churches Fellowship United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Dr. William M Lyons, Conference Minister, Southwest Conference United Church of Christ
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