Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt declared May as Jewish American Heritage Month at a ceremony held on Monday at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City.
“As we gather together to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month, we’re reminded of the values that make our state and our nation great,” Governor Stitt said. “Among these values is religious freedoms for everyone, so in Oklahoma, we are so proud to honor and respect the religious diversities of our communities. We’re home to thousands of Jewish Oklahomans and we celebrate the richness of our cultures and the contributions that each bring to our state.”
Every individual has the right to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or persecution.
We’re standing against antisemitism, and I’m proud to proclaim May as Jewish-American Heritage Month. pic.twitter.com/hFxZ0z1bmk
— Governor Kevin Stitt (@GovStitt) May 8, 2023
Monday’s event in the State Capitol’s Blue Room was attended by representatives of the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and the local Jewish community.
In addition to Governor Stitt, speakers included Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Chris McCall, CAM Founder Adam Beren, Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City Rachel Johnson, former Jewish War Veterans National Commander Dr. Barry Schneider, and Chabad Rabbi Ovadia Goldman.
The Oklahoma State Senate issued a similar proclamation later on Monday.
“This is the sort of enthusiasm we long to see from every U.S. state when it comes to acknowledging the many contributions that Jewish Americans have made for centuries of American history,” said CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa. “We’re grateful to the governor and the legislature for taking this step. Celebrating Jewish contributions to society is the best antidote to all forms of hatred against Jewish people anywhere and everywhere.”
More than 30 states have officially recognized Jewish American Heritage Month thus far this year, and CAM is making a concerted nationwide effort to promote JAHM.
In 2006, the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution urging “the President to issue each year a proclamation calling on state and local governments and the people of the United States to observe an American Jewish History Month.”
Shortly thereafter, then-President George W. Bush officially declared May as Jewish American Heritage Month.
Since then, successive presidents from both parties have all issued annual declarations emphasizing the integral and unique role Jews have played in the great American story.
In recent years, local governments — at the state, county, and municipal levels — have begun to follow suit, recognizing Jewish American Heritage Month, and implementing relevant programs, ceremonies, and activities.