Local lawmakers tour Jewish Community Center in wake of threats

Bipartisan group hopes threat-makers are caught
Posted at 11:59 AM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 13:13:24-05

Lawmakers from all levels of government and different political parties, visited the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay Monday morning.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah), U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee), state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Whitefish Bay Village President Julie Siegel toured the JCC and met with members of the Jewish community.

Early childhood education students also serenaded their visitors with songs.

The JCC was evacuated twice in recent weeks, as a precaution, after threats were phoned in.

Federal authorities have taken the lead on the investigation into the threats.

They’re investigating the threats in Whitefish Bay, along with others like them across the country, as possible civil rights violations.

On Monday, the elected officials and members of the Jewish Community projected messages of support and unity.

“We have to hope and pray that the FBI tracks down these people, and when they track them down, that they find out where they are from and make sure this never happens again,” Grothman said.

“When we turn a blind eye to intolerance and discrimination against any community, any group, we allow the things that fuel hate crimes to go unchecked,” Baldwin said.

JCC President and CEO Mark Shapiro repeatedly expressed gratitude to the lawmakers for visiting.

“I think each of us at times in our lives have had that feeling where it feels like something may be against you more than you realize," he said. "So when someone turns and says, ‘I got your back,’ I think it’s as great a feeling as our community can have."

Shapiro added the JCC did re-evaluate its security procedures and protocols following the threats.

“Every time anything happens, we’re always looking at it,” Shapiro said.


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