June 17, 2013 – Philadelphia – As immigration reform gains momentum in Congress, Latino and Jewish leaders across the country have jointly declared their commitment to engaging in the cause for justice and equality and other important issues that are relevant to both communities. To follow up on the National Conversation on the State of Latino-Jewish Relations that took place last March, 25 Philadelphia Latino and Jewish leaders met on last week to discuss their interest in collaborating on areas of common concern, including immigration, women’s empowerment, foreign policy, philanthropy and education/mentorship.
An outcome of the two-day national event that convened more than 70 leaders in the nation’s capital was the endorsement and release of The Statement of Latino-Jewish Joint Purpose. “We consider ourselves partners and allies with whom we share common historical experiences, knowledge, challenges and successes,” declares the Statement.
“Today, so much more can be accomplished by working in coalition and there is a sense of urgency in both communities for a stronger and more effective Latino-Jewish collaboration” said Marcia Bronstein, AJC’s Regional Director in Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey. According to Nelson Diaz and Sally Cooper Blezank, co-chairs of the local endeavor, “This will help to advance joint visions and goals both at home and abroad. Latinos and Jews are largely immigrant communities, and have faced similar challenges in terms of integration, making them natural allies on issues such as immigration reform.”
“Together we are committed to federal comprehensive reform of the current dysfunctional immigration system,” says the Statement of Latino-Jewish Joint Purpose. “We call for pragmatic common sense solutions to fix our legal immigration system so as to meet the economic and national security needs of the U.S. in the 21st century, reflecting our shared American values of justice, equal opportunity, family unification and human dignity.”
The National Conversation and The Statement of Latino-Jewish Purpose addresses additional areas of concern, discussed in-depth during the event, such as coalition dynamics, community development, philanthropy, foreign policy and Homeland-Diaspora relations.
“The Latino and Jewish leaders called on both their communities to advocate together on issues that will strengthen their communities, help mentor young leaders, create networking opportunities and crack the glass ceiling for minorities and women. Together they will advocate for education, immigration and jobs,” stated Nelson Diaz.
On philanthropy, leaders agreed that closer Latino-Jewish collaboration can lead to increased institutional and private giving.
“We commit to share our experiences, knowledge, challenges and successes, so as to ensure that Latinos and Jews, and all Americans, can enjoy supportive communities and attain access to quality education, economic opportunity and political empowerment,” said former Philadelphia City Councilman Angel Ortiz.
The Latino-Jewish Joint Statement of Purpose has been widely endorsed by leaders from both communities. To see the full text, please visit www.ajc.org.
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