The City Council of Wichita, Kansas — led by Mayor Brandon Whipple — officially recognized Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM) on Tuesday.
The JAHM proclamation was accepted by Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Founder Adam Beren, who was in attendance at the City Council meeting along with representatives of the local Jewish community, including Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation President Seth Merrell and Executive Director Julie Furhauf, as well of Rabbi Andrew Pepperstone of the Ahavath Achim Congregation.
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 released annual declarations emphasizing the integral and unique role Jewish Americans have played in the great American story over the past three and a half centuries.
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.
This past February, Mayor of Richmond, Virginia Levar Stoney distributed a letter encouraging his fellow city leaders in the U.S. Conference of Mayors to join him in proclaiming and celebrating JAHM across the nation.
This initiative by U.S. mayors to mark Jewish American Heritage Month follows through on a pledge made at the Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism in Athens, Greece, in December 2022 to proactively combat antisemitism on the local level.