Following rise of targeted and horrific attacks on places of worship in New York and across the country, congressman joins religious leaders and announces increased federal funding to make communities of all faiths safer
Congressman Anthony Brindisi convened a meeting of faith leaders from across New York’s 22nd Congressional District to discuss ways to combat rising violence at places of worship. Following recent anti-Semitic attacks in New York and other acts of violence across the country, Brindisi announced increased funding for the Not-For-Profit Security Grants Program from the recent government funding legislation signed into law in December. Brindisi helped secure $90 million for the critical security grant—an increase of $30 million from last year.
“These grants will go toward protecting places of worship,” Brindisi said. “When a man or woman goes to pray or talk to their god, they should know that they are safe from violence or hatred. These grants provide funding to protect non-profit organizations that are at high risk for a terrorist attack. And make no mistake about it: attacks on our places of worship are acts of terror.”
The NSGP provides funding support for target hardening and other physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack. The program seeks to integrate the preparedness activities of nonprofit organizations with broader state and local preparedness efforts.
Brindisi was joined by faith leaders from around the region who praised his leadership and efforts.
“I am very grateful to Congressman Brindisi for convening this gathering and bringing us together to address this growing challenge to our democracy,” said Rabbi Peter Schaktman from Temple Emanu-El Utica. “All Americans need to combat the rise of anti-Semitism in our country and we commend Congressman Brindisi and other leaders for their commitment to diversity and safety for all. Anti-Semitism has no place in our community and we all need to work together to root it out. The discussion today was enlightening and productive, and I am honored to have joined other local faith leaders to wrestle with this urgent issue.”
“On behalf of the Greater Interfaith Coalition of Greater Utica, we stand with members of all faiths,” said Rev. Jill Farnhum-Us of the Interfaith Coalition of Greater Utica. “We want to make sure that everyone knows that people of all religions should be treated equally here in our community. It’s important everyone understands that each person’s religion is a personal matter, and that there should be no discrimination shown to anyone based on what they believe. The Coalition also strongly condemns any acts of violence, slander or discrimination of any kind with respect to anyone’s religious beliefs. We thank Congressman Brindisi for holding this roundtable discussion and appreciate his efforts to keep our communities safe.”
Brindisi also led a discussion between community and faith leaders. The leaders discussed ways to foster understanding, acceptance and safety for members of all faiths.
“We had a great discussion and I look forward to taking these ideas back with me to Congress,” Brindisi said. “Our community is one of love, and we’ve seen that time and time again, but we need to be prepared and do everything we can to keep places of worship safe.”
Last year, Brindisi supported several bipartisan resolutions combatting anti-Semitism including establishing a special envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism within the Department of State.