In the United States, all people possess a fundamental right to free speech and assembly; such values, and their concomitant freedom of conscience, are profoundly important to American Jews’ religious liberty. It is an unfortunate reality that with the good of the First Amendment, comes some bad: an Indiana-based, Ku Klux Klan-affiliated group will soon exercise its right to assemble at Courthouse Square in downtown Dayton, on May 25th. The group’s rally permits were approved late last week, and this demonstration is now confirmed.
Distressing as it will be to have the Klan in our home, we in the Jewish community—along with many other concerned parties of Greater Dayton—are already planning appropriate and measured ways to productively respond to this issue. The KKK group has released statements suggesting that they are excited to get under the skin of our community and provoke anger. We must be simultaneously forceful and thoughtful in countering their aims. It would be to our detriment were we to unintentionally give them what they want.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton and the Jewish Community Relations Council are working with all local Jewish groups and community partners to find collaborative, non-escalatory ways to meet this hateful affront with a show of our commitment to love and peace. We ask that you please stay tuned as we begin to plan the details of an upcoming, coordinated response, and—as always—please feel free to contact us with any concerns you may have.
To read more about the rally, click here.
Rabbi Ari Ballaban
Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton