Local | Opinion

After Orlando: a message from the director of Tucson’s Jewish History Museum and JCRC

Dear friends,

On the evening of June 26, the Jewish History Museum will host the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona (JFSA) Pride program Celebrating Marriage Equality, an event that will mark the one year anniversary of the Marriage Equality Act, a landmark moment for our country and for LGBT rights. The horrific shootings at the Pulse night club whose clientele is the LGBT community in Orlando remind us that the struggle for civil rights and human dignity for all is ongoing and does not advance along a perfect upward continuum.

History provides numerous examples of progress being eclipsed by the dark forces of hate, fear and extremism.  Gay culture flourished in Germany in the 1920s.  Soon after taking office in 1933, Hitler banned all gay and lesbian organizations and later instituted harsh revisions to the criminal code specifically targeting gay men by making a broad spectrum of behaviors between men punishable by imprisonment.

As a community and as a country, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to cultivate compassion, mutual respect and understanding.

As a joint project of the Jewish History Museum and JFSA, the Holocaust History Center will serve as a center of conscience in our community.  The Center purposefully draws the lines that make connections between the history of the Holocaust and ongoing human rights challenges of our day.  We work with visitors of all ages to develop meaningful conversations about racism, xenophobia, homophobia and all forms of hate. Through these conversations, the seeds of a more peaceful world are planted.

The attack at the Pulse night club was an attack on us all. Our heartfelt condolences go out to all of the families who were affected, and we wish a full recovery to all those injured in Orlando.  Let us stand together as a community against hate crimes, terrorism and intolerance.

Please join us on June 26 to celebrate advances in LGBT rights and to engender a more compassionate community.

Bryan Davis
Executive Director: Jewish History Museum
Director: Jewish Community Relations Council