Monday, February 11, 2019

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Hate had no place at Chester conference

Attorney Gary Sussman was one of the six panelists

TOWN OF CHESTER – A large turnout of Orange County residents to Sunday’s “Hate has no place in America” conference in the Town of Chester proved the point that hate does not belong in the community.           

A panel discussion included students who were the brunt of hateful communication, a clergywoman, civil rights attorney and a state lawmaker.

Student panelist N’Senga Kinzonzi, the youngest of the six panelists, defined racism “as a disease that affects the brain and is transmitted through oral ignorance. It is originated by fear and affects actions and thinking of others toward each other." 

She is the African-American Minisink Valley High School student who was abused when a white male student took a candid photo of her in class and posted it using the “N” word and saying she should be lynched.

Rabbi Rachel Rubenstein, executive director of the Orange County Jewish Federation, said anti-Semitism is different than racial hatred.

“Anti-Semitism works is predicated on Jews acquiring a certain level of power and wealth because anti-Semitism in its core is meant to protect the prevailing economic system and the way it does that is by putting Jews as the scapegoat,” Rubenstein said.

Other panelists included State Senator Jennifer Metzger (D, Rosendale) and civil rights attorney Michael Sussman.

"We are living in a time when norms are being challenged," Metzger said. "We can't take our values for granted." 

Sussman said racism and anti-Semitism “are both enforced oppression which limit opportunities for people to realize their potential.”

 


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