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Fighting anti-semitism through jazz

Register today for the event, which features an award named after jazz philosophy founder Albert Murray, who worked to reduce racial tension by promoting the values of a multicultural society through music

New York, USA – Following several months of raising tension between the Jewish and Black communities in the USA, organizers of two important communal bodies have come together to initiate a cultural celebration to bring the communities together, and take a firm stand against all forms of antisemitism and racism. The Jazz Leadership Project, the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and the American Sephardic Federation, have launched the “Fighting Anti-Semitism and Racism Together”, to be held 24-25 October, 2021.

At the event, the organizers hope to remind the two communities of the long tradition of cooperation between the two communities, culminating in the Jewish community’s support for Martin Luther King’s struggle for equality in the United States. Organizers will speak out against growing tensions between the two communities as seen in recent years and months, including a dramatic rise in anti-Israel rhetoric using antisemitic language as defined by the widely accepted International Definition of Antisemitism (IHRA).

Greg Thomas and Aryeh Tepper, two musicians and educators, and activists in the global jazz community who initiated the event, explained that music and culture, has the power to overcome stereotypes, prejudices, and racism. Greg Thomas noted, “This collaboration between the Jewish community and the Black American community, through the philosophy of jazz and music, can bring about a change in the unbearable reality from which the two communities are suffering from antisemitism and racism.”

homas said, “People in the United States today are taking racial and cultural differences and manipulating the truth in order to deepen the rifts in American society – instead of creating a cultural connection that brings everyone together. The philosophy of Albert Murray, the great African-American cultural philosopher, called for using music to build bridges and mutual respect, and these are the values we want to promote”.

The event will feature the presentation of an award named after Albert Murray, the founder of jazz philosophy who worked to reduce racial tension by promoting the values of a multicultural society through music. The award will go to renowned artist, musician and composer Wynton Marsalis, who runs the Lincoln Center Jazz Program. The event will be attended by saxophonist Donald Harrison, winner of the US Award for the 2022 NEA Jazz Master Jazz Music Award along with many other activists from the global jazz community, including musicians, philosophers and social activists from both the Jewish and Black communities.

Sacha Roytman Dratwa, Executive Director of the Combat Antisemitism Movement, said ahead of the event that he was saddened by the recent rise in tensions, but saw great potential in using jazz and blues to help promote the values of a multicultural society and stand up against polarization. “Both communities, Jewish and Black Americans, have suffered severe racism throughout distant and recent history, leading to horrific acts against the two communities which have historically walked shoulder to shoulder for equality. I hope that this event will help calm the tensions between the communities created in recent years, caused in part by the antisemitic activities led by the BDS campaign. I hope this event will remind people in both communities that they share the same values, and are on the same side of history in the fight against racism and hatred.”

To register and to view the full list of speakers, click here.

For more on Albert Murray Award recipient Wynton Marsalis, click click here.

 

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