Letters to the Editor: Feb. 16


Optimistic About New Caucus

I applaud state Sen. Shelly Hettleman for rallying her colleagues to launch the Maryland Legislative Jewish Caucus in Annapolis (“Maryland State Lawmakers Launch Jewish Legislative Caucus,” Jan. 26). The caucus will fight the rise in hate that has unfortunately engulfed our country.

This important initiative will also educate all members of our diverse General Assembly about Maryland’s Jewish heritage. The caucus will work with other caucuses in Annapolis to protect and advance civil rights and religious freedom for all Marylanders. Nationwide, Jewish schools, houses of worship, businesses and community centers have been vandalized in recent months. The caucus will aim to improve security measures and raise awareness of these troubling trends.

During this session in Annapolis, the 20 caucus members should think creatively of how best to use their “bully pulpit.” For example, Del. Joe Vogel of Montgomery County, one of the youngest members of the Assembly, recently spoke passionately on the floor reminding colleagues that children, parents and grandparents, including Americans, are still being held hostage in Gaza. Similarly, this July marks 60 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act. Caucus members should remind constituents who are college students about their ability to file complaints to the federal Department of Education under Title VI of this historic law. The caucus members should empower those who are experiencing threats of violence, harassment or discrimination on campus because of their heritage.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.” This caucus brings much needed sunlight in these dark times.

Ari Mittleman


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