As leaders in the Jewish Community, we are appalled at the placement of a noose in an elevator at Allen Hall on the University of Illinois campus. And you should be too. We have spent the last two months educating the Champaign-Urbana community which includes the University of Illinois staff and students about the threat of white nationalism to our community and how to respond to any level of hate crime. We have spearheaded a new coalition of partners threatened by white nationalists who wish to build a white ethnostate. What happens to one of us happens to all of us.
Today it was a noose, two weeks ago it was fliers in downtown Urbana, and In June it was a sign on north Prospect spewing hatred toward Muslims. Before that it was swastikas in dorms and hallways. Unless you are a straight, white, Christian male you are in small or large ways the target of the new breed of white nationalists who are using the internet to indoctrinate children as young as 11 into their hate groups.
The perpetrator has been caught. He is a 19 year old U of I student who barely thought twice about committing this crime. According to police, he was turned in by his girlfriend only because of what a ruckus it caused on social media. Turning a rope into a noose to threaten and frighten people is always an act of violence. While it is aimed at the black community, our hearts also go out to the families of those who took their own lives by hanging.
At minimum the perpetrator is in desperate need of education about white supremacy and white nationalism and needs countless hours of community service starting with the African American community and continuing with the Jewish, Immigrant, Latinx, Native American and Queer Communities. What happens to one of us happens to all of us. Never again means never again.