SALEM – Students, educators, law enforcement officials, clergy, lawmakers, and community leaders join together once a year for breakfast at the Anti-Defamation League New England’s Essex County Law and Education Day. This year, Salem Police Chief Mary Butler and Amesbury Schools Superintendent Jared Fulgoni were honored at the gathering, held May 16 at the Kernwood Country Club in Salem.
Butler recognized the importance of education by acknowledging the table of students sponsored by the Salem Police Department. She emphasized the importance of the ADL’s programming among the younger crowd, and emphasized the need for increased education across the community in order to put an end to injustice and hate.
Supreme Judicial Court Justice David A. Lowy of Marblehead, the keynote speaker, emphasized the importance of civility during conversations. “It seems that too many people are just yelling at each other,” Lowy said. “We tend to live in political echo chambers, where we only read and discuss issues with people who we agree with and jump to collective conclusion about those who we don’t.”
“Acrimony and incivility” is “driving people away from participating in democratic governments,” as well as “coming between friends, and fracturing families,” the judge added.
Debbie Shalom, chair of ADL’s New England Regional Board, emphasized the importance of the ADL’s work. She spoke about the crucial role of education when combating bigotry, and acknowledged the important steps needed to be taken in order to combat hate.
“As we all know, education is the key,” said Shalom, a Swampscott High School graduate. “Together we are stronger.”
Beth Tauro of Marblehead accepted the ADL’s North Shore Community Service Honoree Award on behalf of her late father, US District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro. Justice Tauro was best known as a champion for the rights of the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill.
Despite the increase of education, the rate of hate crimes is increasing as well. “This community, Massachusetts, the country, and the North Shore are experiencing a spike in hate-advised incidents,” said Robert Trestan, executive director of ADL New England. “Our data and the data of others continues to show that the number of incidents in schools impacting students, their families, teachers – in fact every person in this room, in one form or another – is being impacted by what is happening in our country.”