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June 12, 2019 9:52 am

Newly Formed Black-Jewish Caucus Gets First Members, Flurry of Interest

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The US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – A week after the launch of the Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations, nearly 10 members of Congress are planning to join and have expressed interest in doing so or are reviewing the group.

The creation of the Black-Jewish Caucus follows a January meeting with the American Jewish Committee’s National Leadership Council, where US Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) spoke about the urgent need to bring together African-Americans and Jews.

US Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) have joined the caucus.

US Reps. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), André Carson (D-Ind.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) plan to join, their congressional offices told JNS.

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“Congressman Hastings has spent his entire career in support of enhancing black and Jewish relations, and is fully supportive of the caucus,” said his spokesperson, Evan Polisar. “The congressman has traveled to Israel 18 times, and for more than a decade has hosted an annual event on Capitol Hill focused on increasing engagement between the black and Jewish communities in the United States. He looks forward to joining the caucus and continuing these efforts.”

US Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Donald McEachin (D-Va.) have expressed interested in joining the caucus, which has yet to invite them to be part of it, their congressional offices told JNS.

“Members of the black and Jewish communities have fought together for generations for civil rights and social justice. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Black-Jewish Relations builds on this important, long-standing friendship,” McEachin told JNS. “I look forward to learning more about the caucus and seeing how I can support my colleagues in these efforts.”

US Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is reviewing the caucus, while the office of Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) was told about it last week, their congressional offices told JNS.

“I believe it is new and am getting more information on it,” Daniel Schwarz, director of strategic communications of the US House Judiciary Committee, of which Nadler is chairman, told JNS.

Also interested is Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.). “I would be honored to join this caucus and work with my colleagues from the Jewish and African-American communities toward our shared goal creating a safer, more just world for us all,” she emailed to JNS. “Both communities share a long history of standing together in the fight for civil rights and against dangerous, hateful ideology and this caucus is an extension of that tradition in Congress.”

Caucus co-founders, in addition to Lawrence, are US Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).

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