Jewish group honors Debbie Almontaser, former Principal of the Kahlil Gibran International Academy
Event to celebrate those who have taken risks for social justice in the face of fear and prejudice
NEW YORK CITY— On October 18, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) will present the 11th Annual Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Risk-Taker Awards to educator Debbie Almontaser, distinguished poet and activist Adrienne Rich, community organizer and literary agent Frances Goldin, and the New York City AIDS Housing Network.
“Whether through poetry, direct action in the street, education, or organizing, all of our honorees have served as extraordinary agents for change,” said JFREJ Executive Director Dara Silverman.
This year, JFREJ extends special recognition to long-time ally Debbie Almontaser, the founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, who in recent months has been targeted by powerful anti-Muslim and anti-Arab voices in our city. Almontaser has committed her life to supporting Arab, Muslim, and interfaith communities and promoting a Muslim commitment to peace and justice. After 9/11, she was a key partner with JFREJ in building bridges between Jewish and Muslim communities.
“As Jews, we stand against hate-mongering in all its forms,” said Silverman. “Many Jewish groups honored Debbie before, but we wanted to send a clear message that our support for her has not wavered and we reject the smear campaign that was waged against her this summer.”
The Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Risk-Taker Awards honors those in the Jewish and progressive communities who take personal risks in the fight for social justice. The awards are named for Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer (1930-1993), founding rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City, who spoke out against the military dictatorship in Argentina, worked in support of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and opposed oppression wherever he encountered it.
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ) is a membership-based organization founded in 1990. JFREJ engages Jews to pursue and win racial and economic justice in partnership with Jewish and allied people of color, low-income and immigrant communities in New York City. To learn more about Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, go to http://www.jfrej.org.