Last night the Richmond City Council adopted the terminology and definitions in Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022, which includes Discrimination, Anti-Asian Racism, Anti-Black Racism, Islamophobia and Antisemitism.
Richmond Jewish Day School would like to extend our deep gratitude to those members of the Richmond City Council who voted in support of the Richmond Community Protocol, and in particular, to Councilor Loo for bringing the motion forward in such a personal and honest way. We also thank the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) for their tireless commitment and support to this endeavor.
Today, we come to school knowing that our community of Jewish students is safer. Today we work, learn and play in a city that acknowledges that Antisemitism or hate in any form has no place. We are certain that the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) definition will help the people of Richmond identify antisemitism in all its manifestations, so that they can help put a stop to it and protect the values of diversity, equality, and community that we all cherish.
During her closing remarks, Councilor Loo quoted Martin Niemoller:
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Last night we stood hand in hand with our valued members and partners in the Richmond Jewish Community: The Bayit, Chabad of Richmond, Congregation Beth Tikvah, the Kehila Society, parents, and community members. We heard Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman and Michael Sachs talk about their experiences with Antisemitism as Jewish people and Richmond residents. And finally, we all collectively held our breath during the vote, sighing in relief as the motion passed.
Last night, it was proven that Richmond is a city that values diversity and inclusivity. It is the city of the Highway to Heaven, where we stand for each other, we celebrate our differences and support our communities.