Congressman Kim Brings Faith, Community Leaders Together for a Listening Session on Discrimination and Bias
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) convened key leaders from the African American, Jewish, and Muslim faith communities, as well as other community leaders to conduct a listening session on the issues of discrimination and bias impacting minority communities.
“We have seen hate on the rise and the structural inequalities that have been laid bare in the past weeks right in our own backyard. As a member of Congress, it is my job to listen, learn and understand the issues being faced by our community. I’m glad I had a chance to do that today,” said Congressman Kim. “The work only starts here. By bringing members of our community together, we can find new ways to confront these problems and create a more just and equal state.”
The listening session comes on the heels of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others across the country underscoring generations of inequality and discrimination against the African American community. It also comes following a year in which Anti-Semitic activities in New Jersey hit an all-time high according to the Anti-Defamation League, and crimes against Muslims and other groups saw a rise throughout New Jersey.
Jared Maples, Director of Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness emphasized that, “hate has no place in New Jersey.” He and his team are working hard to build relationships and trust with Faith Leaders throughout our state. His team is available to have open and honest dialog and he encourages Faith Leaders to be in touch.
Some of the issues raised by participants on the call include increasing security at local mosques, synagogues and churches in the face of rising bias crimes, police-community relations in the African American community, the reporting mechanisms to local and state officials for issues or concerns relating to peaceful protests and how to reopen faith institutions safely.
Pastor Jonathan Leath of Converge Church in Moorestown and co-chair of the Moorestown Ministerium’s Anti-Racism Task Force, emphasized that, “churches are the heartbeat of our communities,” and stated that clear communication and guidance in these times are essential.
Congressman Kim is a member of the bipartisan House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, where he serves as one of twelve members of the House tasked with conducting oversight over programs aimed at ending the Coronavirus pandemic and helping address the economic impact it’s having on the American people. Congressman Kim is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Small Business. More information about Congressman Kim can be found on his website by clicking here.