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We, concerned LGBTQ people and allies, Jews and non-Jews, from Chicago and across the world, call on the Chicago Dyke March Collective:
1. To issue a written formal apology to:
- Laurel Grauer, Midwest Manager of A Wider Bridge, and the LGBTQ Jewish marchers who were singled out and dismissed for carrying rainbow Jewish flags.
- LGBTQ Jews and allies in Chicago and across the country who feel threatened and alienated by the Chicago Dyke March collective for their actions;
- And the broader LGBTQ and Jewish communities for failing to live up to our shared values of diversity, inclusivity, and freedom of expression.
2. To issue a written statement affirming the inclusion of all LGBTQ Jews, without any pledge or loyalty oath to a political agenda related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or any other issues, in future Chicago Dyke Marches.
3. To make a commitment to meet with A Wider Bridge and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to learn about the ugly manifestations of anti-Semitism against the Jewish community; historically against global Jewry, and today inside the LGBTQ community and in broader 21st Century America and Europe.
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A WIDER BRIDGE CONDEMNS THE EXCLUSION OF LGBTQ JEWS AND ALLIES FROM THE CHICAGO DYKE MARCH
We are deeply disturbed by the exclusion of A Wider Bridge Midwest Manager Laurie Grauer and her friends from the Chicago Dyke March, an annual event attended by 1,500 queer women and allies in Chicago. Laurie was proud to carry a rainbow Jewish flag in the march, as has been tradition for her and her friends for a decade.
Organizers of the march identified the flag, confronted Laurie and her friends, and informed them the flag was “triggering marchers,” and demanded they fold up the flag and promptly leave the March, as the event was an “anti-Zionist, pro-Palestine event.”
The Chicago Dyke March’s Mission statement includes the following:
“[The Dyke March] is an anti-racist, anti-violent, volunteer-led, grassroots effort with a goal to bridge together communities across race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, age, size, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, culture, immigrant status, spirituality, and ability.”
The Dyke March has failed to live up to their goal of “bridging together communities.” That the organizers would choose to dismiss long-time community members for choosing to express their Jewish identity or spirituality runs counter to the very values the Dyke March claims to uphold, and veers down a dangerous path toward anti-semitism.
At A Wider Bridge, we believe in the intrinsic value of being in conversation, even in cases of disagreement; of sharing, empathy, building relationships, and finding common ground. Automatically dismissing Jews and any LGBTQ person or ally who cares about Israel out of hand only builds walls between members of our diverse community.
We call on the Dyke March to issue a full public apology for dismissing LGBTQ Jews from the March, and affirm the Dyke March hold to their own values as a safe place for all LGBTQ people, including the Jewish Community.
We also invite the leadership of the Dyke March to meet with A Wider Bridge to discuss the events that took place yesterday, and to have a constructive dialogue about how anti-Semitism and calls for the disappearance of the Jewish State are creating an unsafe environment for LGBTQ Jews and allies.
Finally, we call on all of our community partners and allies in the Jewish community and the LGBTQ community who care about the advancement human rights and inclusion to join us in condemning this act of hate.