Hate Free Zones

Neighbors standing up to Islamophobia and xenophobia

Since the 2016 election, JFREJ has been a member of the Hate Free Zones coalition, led by DRUM (Desis Rising Up & Moving), which fights to protect communities from Islamophobia, xenophobia, state violence and hate violence.

A Hate Free Zone is “a community defense system that will allow us to defend our communities from workplace raids, deportations, mass criminalization, violence, and systemic violation of our rights and dignity.”

Jewish safety in an age of rising antisemitism is directly tied to building solidarity with our neighbors. Hate Free Zones is an exercise in nurturing this shared commitment to our mutual safety.

The fruits of this effort were evident after the massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue, when we hosted a Havdallah vigil in Union Square and a Solidarity Shabbat in Jackson Heights, Queens. When danger struck in our Jewish community, it was these our partners, hailing from South Asian, Latinx, and Filipino communities, with signs in Urdu, Bangla, Spanish, and Tagalog, who created a protective circle around us as we performed our rituals of mourning.

We have hosted Hate Free Zones town halls and bystander intervention trainings including Cop Watch and ICE Watch trainings, with the goal of organizing the Jewish community in each neighborhood to intervene in instances of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim violence and street harassment.

These moments of empathy and solidarity represented everything we’ve been building together — a community protection system where we know our neighbors and we all rise together when needed.