In an unprecedented action, scores of members of the New Jersey State Senate and State Assembly took the Stand Up for the Other Pledge on December 19. The Pledge, sponsored by the New Jersey Interfaith Coalition (NJIC), and developed by NJIC founder Dr. Ali Chaudry, also president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge and co-chair of the New Jersey Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee, reads: "While interacting with members of my own faith, ethnic or gender community, or with others, if I hear hateful comments from anyone about members of any other community, I pledge to stand up for the Other and challenge bigotry in any form."
The New Jersey Interfaith Coalition (www.njifc.org) developed the Stand Up for the Other pledge in response to efforts by FFEU to bring Jews, Muslims and members of other faith groups together during Season of Twinning events in 2015 and 2016. On November 1, Muslim, Jewish and other students--as well as faith leaders from around the state--came together at Rutgers University to vow to stand up for each other if any community is unfairly attacked--regardless of the results of the Presidential election.
According to State Senator Raymond Lesniak, who took part in the two twinning events and took the lead in pressing members of the Senate and the Assembly to come together to sign the pledge in unison "We are proud that the State Legislature of New Jersey is the first in the world that has stepped forward to say that each of us is responsible to speak out against bigotry wherever we find it. Added State Sen. Linda Greenstein, who also took part in the twinning events; "This is about standing up and doing the right thing, in order to make the world a better place."
According to Walter Ruby, "Kudos to our dear friend Ali Chaudry for initiating this Pledge and congratulations to all of members of the New Jersey Senate and Legislature--both Republicans and Democrats--who chose to stand up against bigotry at a crucial moment. We will now work to get legislators from states across the country to follow New Jersey's enlightened example."