Congresswoman takes part in NYC march

On Sunday, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) took part in the “No Hate. No Fear.” Solidarity March, standing with the Jewish community against anti-Semitism and hate. The event began in lower Manhattan with participants marching over the Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn.

“Today and every day, I stand in solidarity with the Jewish community in combating the scourge of anti-Semitism and hate,” said Meng. “The spate of anti-Semitic hate crimes that our Jewish communities have faced and endured over the last year has threatened the foundation of our city, which thrives on religious freedom. We must all stand up and be united in denouncing this unacceptable spike in anti-Semitic attacks, and make clear that these cowardly acts will never, ever be tolerated. But we need more than words and condemnations. We need action and resources, and we cannot rest until we use every tool at our disposal to eradicate all forms of intolerance and bigotry. Enough is enough.”

Meng noted that one of the major resources to help houses of worship (synagogues, churches, mosques, temples) and nonprofit entities improve security and guard against threats and attacks has been the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee – the panel responsible for funding every federal agency, program, and project within the U.S. government including the Nonprofit Security Grant Program – Meng has helped to increase funding and awareness for these grants over the past several years, including last month when she played a critical role in boosting the annual amount to $90 million.

“Nonprofit Security Grants are vital,” said Meng. “The program’s importance cannot be overstated and as a Congressional appropriator, I will do everything I possibly can to secure even more funding for next year. Money from these grants can be used for target-hardening and other physical security enhancements such as barriers, gates, safety gear and surveillance equipment. Over the past two-and-a-half years, I have obtained and announced grants for houses of worship in my congressional district in Queens including synagogues as well as yeshivas, Jewish community centers and other schools, and they are using this money to better protect their congregations, students and organization members. Now, I urge all houses of worship throughout our region, and across the country, to apply for these grants as well, and to take advantage of the critical funding that they offer. In addition, I will be working to arrange additional Nonprofit Security Grant workshops in my district, so that even more houses of worship and high-risk nonprofit institutions can learn about the program, and successfully apply for funding.”

On a related note, Meng is presently drafting legislation that seeks to improve coordination between local and federal law enforcement in targeting and reporting hate crimes, to make sure that acts of anti-Semitism are being handled appropriately at the federal level.