Dear Pride Family,
It is Jewish Heritage Month. My mother, a Jewish woman raised by Orthodox parents whose family left Russia and Austria respectively to escape persecution and death, and my father, a devout Catholic man from Mexico, each explained to me as a child the discrimination I would face because my life encompassed these inherited individual and blended identities. As a queer, non-binary, Jewish, Mexican-American, first-generation US citizen, it pains me to see clearly how connected our seemingly disparate struggles truly are.
From the Holocaust of Nazi Germany to the homegrown hate groups who live right here in San Diego, our Jewish siblings and the LGBTQ community can far too often trace the targeted violence against us to the same root cause; white supremacy. Over the last several years our communities have seen a rise in anti-LGBTQ and anti-Semitic hate and violence.
In November of last year, the Department of Homeland Security issued a terrorism advisory bulletin warning that Americans motivated by violent ideologies pose a “persistent and lethal threat” to LGBTQ, Jewish, and migrant communities. Local white supremacists protesting an innocent transgender woman in Santee and Neo-Nazis shouting “There Will Be Blood” at a Drag Queen Story Hour in Ohio are just two of countless examples of the rise in hate we’re seeing across the country. This reprehensible conduct is being normalized and encouraged by right-wing extremist politicians and pundits as well over 600 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation have our community re-litigating our humanity and pleading for our safety.
It is imperative that all of us understand these shared struggles.
At this year’s Light Up the Cathedral event, our annual LGBTQ-affirming interfaith celebration and call to action, our keynote speaker will be Rabbi Devorah Marcus and our Light of Pride honoree is her synagogue Temple Emanu-El. Rabbi Devorah brings a depth of religious and academic expertise along with a demonstrated commitment to social justice issues, particularly those impacting the LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities, making her an invaluable leader and voice in our ongoing conversation about combating the rise of anti-semitism and white supremacy. Her fearless work and our decades-long relationship with Temple Emanu-El are the embodiment of allyship, and we are honored to celebrate them this year.
The fight against bigotry isn’t a series of isolated battles; it’s a unified struggle for acceptance, equality, and freedom if we can fully grasp that our villains are the same. By standing together, we send a powerful message to neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups that we will not be divided by hate. We have won these battles before. We will celebrate our diversity, and relentlessly defend our freedom of faith and of love so we may live freely and Thrive!
Fernando Z. López
San Diego Pride