On Thursday March 2, 2017 the Stand Against Hate rally, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, took place in Center City Philadelphia in response to the desecration at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery and the general uptick in hate crimes in recent months. The rally was held on Independence Mall, with a small stage for the speakers set up symbolically between the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Speakers at the rally included Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro, as well as Philadelphia mayor, Jim Kenney and clergymen and women from multiple faiths groups.
Hundreds of people gathered on the lawn of Independence Mall to listen to the speakers and show their support for communities targeted by hate. People waved American flags and gay pride flags as a choir from the Jack Barrack Hebrew Academy performed. While the rally was organized mainly by Jewish organizations in response to a hate crime that specifically targeted Jews, the rally attempted to speak beyond the Jewish community. This is why the event was such a success, because of the many religious, ethnic, and racial groups that came together to take a stand against hate. Given the uptick in hate crimes in recent months, it’s likely that the marginalized communities who stood with the Jewish community last week feel themselves to be likely targets of hatred and/or bigotry in the coming months and years. It will be interesting to see how these many groups continue to work together in the future. (Max)