The northern Illinois city of Rockford officially recognized May as Jewish American Heritage (JAHM) in a ceremony held at the City Council Chambers on Monday.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara presented his city’s JAHM proclamation to representatives of the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and Jewish Federation of Greater Rockford.
On Monday, May 1st the @CityofRockford, Illinois declared May as #JewishAmericanHeritageMonth. We were honored to receive the proclamation alongside Mayor @tmcrkfd and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rockford. pic.twitter.com/lo3ZYMR8OL
— Combat Antisemitism Movement (@CombatASemitism) May 2, 2023
Director of Development Julie Reeder attended the event on behalf of CAM.
In an interview with local media outlet WREX, Jewish Federation of Greater Rockford Executive Director Goldie Pekarsky said, “I have been very impressed with our mayor and our city for quite some time now, and this just reinforced that our mayor and our city care about the Jewish people and the fight we have right now against antisemitism.”
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.