By Janice Berg and Marcie Dinkin
In June, a young Tomball man displayed a gay pride flag in his front yard in support of Orlando shooting victims. When the flag was stolen, he put up another. As KHOU reported, the second flag also was taken, but it was returned to him hours later partially burned, with a large swastika drawn in the center. This story grabbed our attention and it prompts the questions, was this simple vandalism or an act of hatred?
Most of us care deeply about the all-too-frequent reports of bigotry and social injustice in our community and nationwide, but we don’t always know how to help. Here’s a suggestion: get involved in the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). ADL is a civil rights organization dedicated to stopping “the defamation of the Jewish people and securing justice for all.” ADL contacted investigators in the flag desecration case and confirmed they are investigating it as a possible hate crime.
If a social justice issue concerns you, chances are ADL is working on it. Some examples include the school-to-prison pipeline, voting rights for all, combatting the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement, and improving relations between citizens and police.
ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute (GLI) is a perfect introduction to the organization for young professionals who believe in ADL’s mission and want to learn more.
Over the course of eight months, a select group of young professionals in GLI attend regular presentations by local and national ADL leaders on a range of issues. By the end of the year, class members are immersed in those issues and have learned where they fit into the network of ADL supporters and where they can be most helpful. Some GLI graduates will choose to join ADL’s civil rights committee. Others might volunteer on ADL’s education committee or with it’s No Place for Hate® Initiative, working with students and educators to counter bias and bullying and promote respect.
Some may be interested in international affairs, development or security for the Jewish community.
All GLI members have the opportunity to attend ADL’s National Leadership Conference May 7-9, 2017 in Washington, D.C., where they will hear national and international experts speak on ADL issues and have the opportunity to discuss those issues with members of Congress on behalf of ADL.
ADL issues are as important today as they were when the agency began more than 100 years ago. Through GLI, ADL is cultivating its next generation of leaders. If you would like to get involved with ADL, consider applying for GLI. ADL is taking nominations for the 2016-2017 GLI class through August 25. For more information or to nominate someone for GLI, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We went through last year’s GLI class and can tell you it was a very positive, fun and meaningful experience for us.
Janice Berg and Marcie Dinkin are co-chairs of GLI 2016-2017. Janice is an attorney with a solo law practice. Marcie is a clinical social worker who counsels teens struggling with substance abuse and mental illness.