August 3, 2022 | 6th of Av, 5782
Late yesterday evening it was brought to our attention that Hanover County Schools had produced a shirt to commemorate their professional development efforts which had some resemblance to a Swastika. Our Federation, along with our partners at the Anti Defamation League (ADL), Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC), and the Virginia Holocaust Museum moved swiftly to address this deeply disturbing situation.
Together we have crafted and implemented a multi-level response:
Each organization shared our appreciation that Hanover County Superintendent Gill moved quickly to share this statement.
Jewish Community Federation CEO Daniel Staffenberg, spoke with local news outlets to share the following. “We appreciate the swift and definitive response of Superintendent Michael Gill; which expressed regret for: “this mistake and [...] the emotions [...] the logo [...] evoked by its semblance to a swastika and, by extension, to the atrocities that were committed under its banner.” Gill went on to “condemn anything associated with the Nazi regime in the strongest manner possible.” In partnership with the school board, we will continue to address this incident and ensure that Jewish students, families, and all vulnerable minorities unsettled by this logo are represented in the cities and school systems they inhabit.”
We, alongside our partners, reached out to Superintendent Gill with a letter in follow-up, and have already received a response to schedule a meeting to discuss next steps and ensure that the voice of Jewish students and those of other minority faiths are heard and respected. This continues our ongoing efforts to build and sustain relationships with leaders throughout Greater Richmond.
JCRC Chair, Amy Melnick Scharf has expressed our deep appreciation to our friends in the Black community and thanked them for the strong statement of support by the NAACP Hanover Chapter. You can read the NAACP statement here.
A core priority of Federation is to secure the community and fight Antisemitism. One of the ways we do this is by building interfaith connections, strengthening knowledge around Jewish life and advocating for policies and programs which fight Antisemitism and hate and move our community forward in an inclusive and respectful manner.
Federation's Community Security Initiative is there to support anyone who has experienced an act of antisemitism. Please report all incidents to the ADL or on our anonymous incident report line at JewishRichmond.org/Security.
We are grateful for the strong partnership of Michelle Magner of ADL, Jonathan Zur at VCIC and Sam Asher at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. We will continue to update the community on our efforts.
Amy Nisenson, JCFR President
Daniel Staffenberg, JCFR C.E.O.
Amy Melnick Scharf, JCRC Chair
Basya Gartenstein, JCRC Director