Civil Discourse & Anti-Bigotry Work

The bloodshed in the Middle East in the wake of the horrific attacks of October 7th has left so many of us reeling.  I went to Kibbutz K’far Aza in southern Israel with other legislators just last year and watched with shock and horror as the streets that I had walked down and houses I had been into so recently were turned into a brutal massacre site.    

Among the many ramifications of the conflict, there has been a frightening uptick in antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Arab hate here at home. I have engaged in dialogue with my colleagues from the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, as well as with Muslim elected officials and other leaders, as we seek ways to ratchet down tensions here in our community. The work has included everything from commemorations and dialogues to listening sessions, pushing campus leadership, and close engagement with law enforcement.  

One bright spot was our recent groundbreaking at the Holocaust Museum LA.  When I was Chair of the Jewish Caucus, we secured significant money to help fund a major expansion of the Museum. I was proud to attend and speak at the recent groundbreaking for the expansion along with a recent event there with members of the Legislative Black Caucus where we toured the construction site, which when finished will help the Museum serve many more Angelenos and visitors from all walks of life, from schoolchildren to veterans. Recent surveys have shown shocking levels of ignorance about the Holocaust and other historic genocides among young people, and it is my urgent hope that the Museum will help to play an important role in combatting that ignorance, in so doing building greater empathy and understanding in our community. 

Holocaust Museum

Along those lines, I continue to be concerned about the state of civil discourse in the nation, and have also been active in bipartisan dialogue with organizations such as the Rodel Fellowship, NewDeal Leaders, the Anti-Defamation League, and Pepperdine University, including co-hosting a recent dialogue on social media and civil discourse with college students with my Republican Senate colleague Scott Wilk.