Over the last few weeks my heart has been heavy as I haven’t stopped thinking of the people and families affected by the horrific events in Israel. As an African American woman, the antisemitism experienced by Jews around the world and in our community is eerily familiar to me. I know what it feels like to be ostracized, and to experience the trauma of racial and social injustices.

I want you to know that we are in this together, and I will always stand in solidarity with our Jewish friends and neighbors, just as they have always done for the African American community in our fight against racism.

As a minister, I am also aware of the importance of being a vessel of support and peace to those who experience attacks, hurt, and hardship because of race, creed, or religion.

I stand with Israel because it is what I have always done from the time my parents taught me as a child the importance of Psalm 122:6 , “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee.” I pray for my Jewish brothers and sisters here in Westfield and abroad, and for the safe return of the Israelis held hostage by the terrorist group Hamas. I also pray for the innocent Palestinians who are caught in their crossfire.

As a member of the Westfield Clergy Association, I appreciate the counsel and direction that Rabbi Prosnit continues to provide us to establish peace, fight hate, and teach tolerance. Being a part of the discussion, and recently attending “A Sharing of Song, Unity, and Peace” at St. Helens Church, reaffirmed the importance of establishing brotherly and sisterly love here in Westfield, and the need to continue to bring awareness and understanding of our challenges and differences as a means to foster empathy within our entire community.

These are trying times, and I advocate for peace, love, and kindness. In the days to come, I will continue to stand up against hate in all its forms as I have always done, stand in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors, and pray for the peace of Israel.

Resources to help the hostages.