Unpack With YUPAC: A Privilege and a Responsibility
As YUPAC President, I had the privilege of leading a delegation of over 150 students on a lobbying Mission to Washington this past week.
I’d like to share with you all what I shared with my delegation while we were sitting on the steps leading up to the Capital Building of the United States of America.
As we are standing here, in Washington DC, at Capitol Hill, on the steps leading up to where the laws of the land are made by those most powerful members of our government, we are literally living our grandparents’, and their parents’, and their parents’, wildest dreams.
Many of us here are the descendants of those who fled the Nazis in Europe, fled antisemitism in the Middle East, and found refuge here in America. Some of us are the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, who sacrificed everything so that we could live the lives we have the privilege of living.
In Nazi Germany, Hilter came into power legally. The Nuremberg laws were passed legally. Antisemitism was systemically legalized. Nearly one hundred years later, we can make things different for us in America. We have the right to vote, and to make our voices heard.
Not only can we cast our votes, but we have the ability to march up to the steps of the United States Capitol and tell our elected officials what matters to us, just as we are doing today.
We have seen a rapid rise in antisemitism in the past months and years, but our lives are still comfortable. We are lucky to not have to worry about antisemitism, BDS or religious discrimination on campus. But that doesn’t mean it is not happening or that we don’t have to fight it.
We forget how lucky we are to have the right to vote, to have a voice that matters. It is more than just a right, it is our responsibility to take action.
While I hope we made an impact on the Representatives and Senators we lobbied today, and their future voting patterns, our goal with this trip was also to impact all of you: To show you how much your vote, your voice, your action and your drive matters.
The tremendous privilege we have comes with responsibility. We have a responsibility to act in a way our great-grandparents only dreamed could be possible. We have a responsibility to speak up, to vote, to get involved and to make our voices heard, just as we all have done today.
It is up to all of us to take on this responsibility and continue the work we started today, to continue to let our elected officials know what is important to us, to make sure we are voting, to make sure we continue to advocate for a strong US-Israel relationship and to work to combat BDS and antisemitism.
Throughout today, we met with forty-five congressional offices to advocate for the US-Israel relationship and security assistance and to ask the members to join the fight in combating antisemitism.
What we did on the Hill today was an incredible effort that made an impact, but it is only a start. We did a lot, but there is so much more to be done.
It is up to us, as the next generation of leaders of the Jewish People, to take on this profound responsibility and continue the work that was started by those who came before: to fight for the Jewish people and the State of Israel in the halls of Congress, to combat antisemitism in our lives and in public, and to work to create a better future for our children, just as our parents did for us.
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Photo Caption: The YUPAC delegation on the steps of the United States Capitol
Photo Credit: YUPAC