City Council testimony from Joe Grant

On June 27, 2024, JCUA community organizer Joe Grant delivered the following testimony before a joint meeting of Chicago’s Public Safety and Health and Human Relations Committee.

Good morning. My name is Joe Grant and I am a community organizer at JCUA, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

For sixty years, JCUA has worked in interfaith, multiracial coalitions in Chicago and across Illinois to build a city and state where all people have dignity, safety, and the resources we need to flourish.

At the core of JCUA’s work is a deep commitment to solidarity. We recognize that antisemitism is linked to other forms of oppression and that safety for Jews is tied to the well-being of all communities.

As a Jewish organization, we are deeply troubled by instances of antisemitic, Islamophobic and racist bigotry in our city. As an organization that works to create long term, systemic changes in our politics and society, we know that these kinds of rhetoric and actions are not merely a matter of individual prejudices, but are part of a much broader political problem. A growing right-wing authoritarian movement in this country is using racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic rhetoric in order to sow division and fear and secure its own power. We are also seeing many others give in to fear and spread this dangerous rhetoric.

Those of us who hold dear the dream of a multiracial democracy and a pluralist society cannot give in to fear and isolation. Effectively addressing all of the forms of bigotry in the Chicago Commission on Human Relations report means continuing to build strong inter-communal relationships and working together across differences towards a city that delivers on the promise of freedom and safety for all people — no exceptions.

JCUA looks forward to continuing this vital work with Mayor Brandon Johnson, Chairperson Rodriguez-Sanchez and Chairman Hopkins and your respective committees and with Commissioner Andrade and the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.