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    If You’re Coming After My Cousin, You’re Coming After Me

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

      Our communities are facing a troubling increase in major incidents of white supremacist violence and we must increase our mutual support and solidarity. These incidents include arson and vandalism, and also have risen to the level of mass murder at Black churches, mosques, Sikh gurdwara and synagogues across the country.

    People have been gunned down during a time of openness, love and prayer by those spreading hate and violence. In these moments, many of us have responded with greater unity. After the massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue, numerous allies showed up to join in Jewish prayers and vigils in response. Not long ago, thousands came together across the globe to clearly oppose anti-Muslim violence and rallied together after the killings in New Zealand. 

    And yet in recent weeks there has been an effort to drive us apart with hate-filled insults against a Black Muslim woman, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. We are facing concerted efforts by right-wingers and white supremacists to encourage divisiveness, rather than solidarity.

    Congresswoman Ilhan Omar

    Congresswoman Omar, the first Somali-American elected to Congress, is fighting for the vital needs for all Americans, including universal health care, resolving student loan debt and protecting the rights of refugees. As a descendent of Holocaust survivors who escaped, I know I am alive today because of my refugee ancestors.  

    Those who seek to divide the “Children of Abraham” against one another are not doing this to help any of us, but rather are seeking to make sure that hatred, prejudice and violence against all of us remains unchallenged.

    Let it be made clear, we must oppose all forms of prejudice and hatred, and if you are coming after my cousin, you are coming after me.

     Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland ( ) and Facebook ( ).