Dear Rutgers University – Newark community members,

We all have been horrified in recent days as anti-Semitic incidents have proliferated in communities locally and nationally, from vandalism of property and sacred sites to brazen broad daylight assaults on people simply going about their daily lives. As a university community whose strength derives from that of the many home communities of our students, faculty, and staff, embracing multiple faith traditions, cultures, and languages, we condemn in no uncertain terms such identity-based hate.

The perpetrators of hate hide under the cover of divisive politics, as we have seen repeatedly in brutality against Black Americans—as we are so painfully reminded on this anniversary of the murder of George Floyd—attacks on our Asian American Pacific Islander neighbors, denigration of Indigenous peoples and communities, and religiously tinged xenophobia, including against Hindus and Muslims. We must recognize and categorically reject the recurrence of such heinous discrimination.

As a university that has been an engine of opportunity for many generations of immigrants and migrants, we remain deeply connected to and deeply affected by tragedies associated with political conflicts causing devastation globally. We shudder at the violence that, often without warning, has taken the lives of hundreds of citizens, including scores of innocent children, displacing tens of thousands and ruining essential civil infrastructure in Gaza, while also claiming a dozen or more lives in Israel. We are convulsed by the persistent oppression and violence in hotspots of conflict around the world, from Xinjiang to Myanmar, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, Belarus, Ukraine, Colombia, and Venezuela, and by the threats to life that drive so many in countries such as Honduras and Guatemala to risk everything on the perilous trek to seek refuge in the U.S. In terms of miles, such places may be distant, but to us their struggles are far from remote.

Just as surely as our individual identities are a profound source of hope and resilience to each of us, the intersections of our identities are too. We experience every day at Rutgers-Newark how we make each other stronger by sharing who we are, learning from one another, standing together, and standing up for each other. At times like this, when we can see and feel our social fabric fraying, let us summon that strength and testify to that truth.

In solidarity,
Nancy Cantor