My Jewish ancestors came to this country fleeing violence to find opportunity and safety in America. I grew up on stories of their bravery in seeking a better life in a new land. That is something quintessentially American, and it has inspired me to fight for a better future for all. In particular, it has inspired me to support Mondaire Jones for Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District.
Mondaire has a story as American as mine. His ancestors arrived in the Americas as slaves. His grandfathers immigrated from Jamaica and escaped segregation in Virginia to work in New York. His mother worked multiple low-wage jobs to survive. Mondaire worked hard to succeed at Rockland County Public Schools, Stanford University, Harvard Law School, and President Obama’s Department of Justice, all as a gay black man. His personal experiences have inspired him to fight for those who are still struggling.
Political organizing has always been a part of the Jewish experience. At many times this organizing has brought white Jews together in solidarity with African Americans like Mondaire Jones. The reason for this solidarity is that for Jews, any oppression is a canary in the coal mine. If oppression comes for anyone, it will come for us shortly after. This is our history, and we do not easily forget. It inspires a concept known as Tikkun Olam, or “repair of the world,” a command to act for the benefit of all. We must constantly practice Tikkun Olam, not only for our morals but for our survival.
I support Mondaire Jones because I see in him this same spirit of Tikkun Olam. I see a desire in him to repair the world for those who need it the most. We repair the world with policies Mondaire champions, like Medicare for All, tuition free public higher education, and a Green New Deal. These are all means of repairing the world, whether it be our bodies, our minds, or the planet itself. The math has been done; we can do these things, and if someone tells you otherwise, you must ask yourself why they do not believe in the strength and the power of this country, the richest country in the history of humanity, to guarantee the same building blocks of opportunity to every single human being in America. The truth is we should believe in America, we should love America and all its people, and we should demand the best of it. That’s what we can do by electing Mondaire Jones.
I ask everyone reading this, black, white or anything in between, any faith or none, to strive with me to make Mondaire Jones our next member of Congress. A better world is possible, and it is up to all of us to create it.