More than 500 ADL leaders and Jewish activists from across the country gathered for ADL’s annual Shana Amy Glass National Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., where government officials, policy experts, journalists, opinion makers and other public figures addressed the participants on some of the most critical issues on the League’s agenda.
See highlights from this year’s summit below! Video recordings of each session are available here.
ADL CEO’s Opening Remarks: Action to Impact
To kick off the Summit, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt gave a rousing call to action to tackle various challenges in the realm of anti-Semitism, civil rights and combating all forms of bigotry and hate.
Taking on Politics as Usual: Activism Innovators
Following Jonathan Greenblatt’s remarks, three of America’s leading activism innovators talked about new ways that grassroots movements are becoming a force to be reckoned with. Featuring:
- Leah Greenberg, Co-Founder, Indivisible
- Rachel Hoff, Advisor, American Unity Fund
- Todd Schulte, President, FWD.us
- Deborah Lauter, ADL Senior Vice President of Policy & Programs
Anti-Semitism in Montana: How One Community Overcame Hate
The opening evening’s plenary began with a story of resilience of how one small Jewish community and its leader in Montana, Rabbi Francine Roston, stood strong in the face of intense anti-Semitic harassment and trolling.
Voices of Everyday Heroes
ADL’s champions and trailblazers for change shared their personal reflections on challenges to the fight against hate today. The newly appointed head of the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, Vanita Gupta, told ADL Summit participants that “it seems like the world is in an epic battle between love and hate and justice is the casualty. Most of us choose love every time.” DeRay Mckesson from Campaign Zero challenged the young leaders to become a bridge between the world we have and the world we deserve. He said, “If you can’t imagine a future, you can’t fight for it.” Jibran Shermohammed, a Glass Participant from Atlanta, told a moving, personal story about how, after 9/11, ADL helped him weave together his heritage, his religion, and his pride as an American. Featuring:
- Vanita Gupta, President & CEO, The Leadership Conference
- Deray McKesson,Interim Chief of Human Capital, Baltimore City Public Schools and Co-Founder, Campaign Zero
- Jibran Shermohammed, ADL Glass Leadership Institute Participant; Community Activist, Atlanta
The State of Anti-Semitism and Hate Crime in the U.S.
ADL’s Summit activists also took an in-depth look at how the League works with experts in the policy community to address challenges like rising populism around the world, anti-Semitism and hate crime in the U.S. Leadership trainings focused on building skills and feeling more empowered to integrate advocacy into already busy schedules. Featuring:
- John Marttila, President, Marttila Strategies
- Rabbi Francine Roston, Whitefish, Montana
- Steve Freeman, ADL Deputy Director of Policy and Programs
- Oren Segal, Director, ADL Center on Extremism
Keynote Remarks by Former FBI Director James Comey
Former FBI Director James Comey gave a powerful speech, lauding ADL’s work with law enforcement and emphasized the importance of hate crimes reporting.
Setting America’s Inclusive Table
Day two culminated with a gala dinner at what ADL calls “America’s inclusive table.” Participants dined alongside refugees, leaders in the civil rights and immigration reform movement while listening to leading civil rights champions talk about challenges to tolerance and pluralism in our country. Sapreet Kaur from the Sikh Coalition, Marc Morial from the National Urban League and Janet Murguia from the National Council of La Raza all joined ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a discussion about how we live our values. Featuring:
Helping Keep America a Safe Haven for Refugees
ADL presented its inaugural Blum Kovler Nation of Immigrants Award to HIAS for their extraordinary work in helping refugees around the world. HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield accepted the award for the organization, saying, “We used to welcome refugees because they were Jewish. Now we welcome refugees because we are Jewish.”
Standing Up Against Bigotry
The evening ended with a dynamic speech by Ana Navarro, a Republican Strategist and Political Contributor to CNN, ABC News and Telemundo, who stressed the importance of standing up against bigotry.
Senators Brief ADL Leaders on Capitol Hill
On the final day, Summit participants were privy to an audience with a group of Senators on Capitol Hill, including Senators John MCCain, Ben Cardin and Al Franken who spoke about the importance of ADL’s advocacy work and of their focused engagement.
Assistant AG for Civil Rights Pledges to Make Hate Crimes a Priority
ADL’s young leaders also met with their Members of Congress from over 90 congressional districts to advocate for priority issues like fighting against anti-Semitism and hate crimes, ensuring our nation continues to welcome refugees fleeing violence and persecution, urging strong U.S. leadership on a global stage, and other core ADL legislative priorities. After lobbying, participants heard from Thomas Wheeler, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice, who promised to vigorously prosecute hate crimes.
Senator Marco Rubio Loudly Condemns Domestic and Global Anti-Semitism
Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave a passionate speech, saying that we need to “expose anti-Semitism wherever and whenever we see it,” and referred to anti-Jewish hatred as “an evil global phenomenon.”
Dedication to the Safety of Our Nation
In accepting the ADL William and Naomi Gorowitz Institute Service Award for his dedication to the safety and security of our nation and the ongoing fight against terrorism, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson declared that racism and anti-Semitism are “merely two different shades of the same evil” and that “terrorism cannot prevail if we refuse to be terrorized.”
Decoding the News: Navigating Conspiracies and Evidence Free News
To close out the Summit, Jeffrey Herbst, President and CEO of the Newseum and The Washington Post’s media critic Eric Wemple, joined ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a timely discussion about how individuals can be more educated consumers of news and demand more evidence-based media coverage and a more respectful public debate.