There’s no way around it: This Jewish American History Month has been troubling. Over the last few weeks, incidents of antisemitic violence and hatred have spiked across the globe, with little indication of what will happen next. Thankfully, there’s an upcoming special in honor of Jewish American History Month which will highlight the faces and organizations fighting back against this worrying trend.
Yesterday, MTV News announced the premiere of “With One Voice: Fighting Hatred Together,” an hour-long special hosted by Laurie Segall featuring four young Jewish American activists who are taking direct action against antisemitism and other hate, also including a conversation with Tova Friedman, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz.
These mensches include Gen Slosberg, co-creator of LUNAR, a Jewish-Asian film project, program manager for Jewish Youth for Community Action, and Alma contributor; Imani Jackson, chef and owner of the catering company Chopped & Served; Eddie Chavez Calderon, campaign director for Arizona Jews for Justice; and Jon Cohen, Director of Community Mobilization for Keshet, an organization that advocates for the inclusion of LGBTQ+ Jews into Jewish life.
For all the activists, their participation in the special wasn’t simply for them. “I honestly did it for my communities and organizations,” Slosberg tells Alma. “I was inspired and honored to tell my own story of arriving to the form of activism I engage in, storytelling and mentorship, because I believe media representation like this special serves the larger purpose of making Asian American Jews and Jews of Color visible, and bringing us to the forefront.”
Cohen believes the same is true for LGBTQ+ Jews. “I feel really lucky that I am able to be the queer and Mexican and Jewish person that I didn’t know could exist when I was growing up. So much of what is happening politically right now is targeting queer and trans children and it’s more important than ever to make sure they know they are seen, matter, and will make it through this.”
As to what the activists hope the special will achieve — that’s twofold. “I hope that the special brings more awareness to the causes that we fight for and for the people that we fight with,” Chavez Calderon says. “Finally, I hope people are inspired by the work we do and are inspired to join us in the fight against injustice wherever it is found.”
Jackson adds, “I want people to take away that caring about Jewish lives, and Black lives, is not a bandwagon you can jump on and off. Rather, learn to appreciate our differences as human beings, and how we can help each other thrive.”
“With One Voice: Fighting Hatred Together” premieres on Monday, May 31 at 10 p.m. ET on MTV, with simulcast across MTV2, VH1, and the Smithsonian Channel.