Governor Glenn Youngkin Introduces New Effort to Combat Antisemitism in Upcoming Budget
For Immediate Release: December 11, 2023
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Macaulay Porter, Macaulay.Porter@governor.virginia.gov
RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin today proposed $375,000 of renewed funding for the Virginia Holocaust Museum and $2 million for security grant funds increasing the total fund to $5 million. This fund allows Jewish community institutions to apply for enhanced security measures.
The Virginia Holocaust Museum investment will support the Alexander Lebenstein Teacher Education Institute program, which organizes high-quality learning experiences, educational content, and exhibitions for students to learn about the Holocaust and other genocides. Additionally, the allocated budget funds will support outreach and community-based programming such as the “Speaker’s Bureau,” which provides students with the opportunity to hear firsthand accounts from Holocaust survivors.
The Governor’s budget also revises and increases funding for the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ hate crime security grant program and makes changes to allow at-risk community non-profits to apply for the funds directly. This new initiative will improve security at community centers and over the biennium, will invest $5 million to combat hate crimes.
“At a time of rising antisemitism and disturbing displays on our college campuses, it is more important than ever to support community outreach initiatives, provide learning opportunities for our students about the horrors of antisemitism, and enable security enhancement opportunities for our Jewish communities,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I’m pleased to pledge an additional $2.3 million dollars in Virginia’s budget to combat antisemitism and reiterate my commitment to stand against antireligious bigotry.”
“Virginia Holocaust Museum is grateful for this timely investment in education and community building by Governor Youngkin,” said Samuel Asher, Executive Director of Virginia Holocaust Museum. “Commitments to Holocaust education respond to the challenging times our communities face statewide. Support like this ensures the Virginia Holocaust Museum can continue to deliver our mission to educate and inspire generations of Virginians to fight prejudice and indifference.”
“My community is deeply grateful for Governor Youngkin’s commonsense approach to safety and security,” said Rabbi Dovid Asher of Keneseth Beth Israel. “When Jews represent just 2% of the population, yet more than 60% of faith-based hate crimes, moral leadership requires exactly this type of major investment. These wise investments will positively impact our state for generations to come.”
Given increased reports of anti-religious bigotry across the country following the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, Governor Glenn Youngkin issued Executive Directive Six in October, which created an actionable plan to coordinate with educational institutions and law enforcement entities to combat threats of violence against Jewish people and other religious communities. On his first day in office, Governor Youngkin signed Executive Order Number 8 establishing the Commission to Combat Antisemitism, which released a report on December 5, 2022.
In May 2023, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed legislation patroned by Delegate Anne Ferrell Tata and Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, which formally adopts the Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on May 26, 2016. This bill was a critical first step toward identifying and combating cases of antisemitism in education, on college campuses, and across the Commonwealth.
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