“The last few weeks have been incredibly difficult for the Jewish and Palestinian members of our community and for those with connections to people living in Israel and Gaza. Devastating violence on the other side of the world has brought with it a rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia here in Washington state.
“We have seen how anti-Semitism leads to increased attacks against our Jewish community members and their places of worship. We’ve also seen how the rise in Islamophobia, and the xenophobia closely tied to it, has led to attacks on our Islamic, Muslim, and Sikh community members and their places of worship.
“It can feel hard to find meaningful ways to engage with international conflict from Washington, but we can still fight the anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and the rhetoric of fear at the root of this conflict here at home. In the last few years, the Legislature has made it easier for these communities to stay safe and more easily receive support during times it matters most. In Washington, we have strengthened our hate crime laws to help protect people across our state, we have made funding available to increase security for non-profit organizations—including religious non-profits facing security threats—and we have created programs to help support refugees from around the world who call Washington home. And we will continue our work to do more, for every Washington resident.
“The world is getting smaller every day; things that happen on the other side of the globe can have just as big of an impact as things that happen in our own communities. But this goes both ways. We can demonstrate the solidarity that rejects violence and terrorism and advocates for peace. We can continue to cultivate a safe, diverse, and welcoming Washington where all positive community establishments thrive. We can support each other, listen to each other, and learn from each other in the pursuit of a world where everyone feels safe and dignified.”