North Carolina Hillel appreciates opportunities to join with our university and community partners to honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to continue working towards equality for all people. This commitment is part of the Jewish value of tikkun olam, or repairing the world.
This is why we are disappointed that UNC-Asheville has invited Tamika Mallory as the keynote speaker for their MLK Week celebrations. Mallory has a history of engaging in and condoning anti-Semitism in the forms of marginalization of Jewish activists within the Women's March movement, calling the establishment of a Jewish homeland a "human rights crime", and her continued enthusiastic support of Louis Farrakhan, a known anti-Semite, homophobe, and misogynist. Mallory and her co-chairs' failure to address the concerns of anti-Semitism within the Women’s March movement has led several local marches, including the Women's March on Asheville, to disassociate with the national movement.
We believe the MLK Week celebration is an important opportunity to promote the values that Dr. King’s legacy represents, including equality, dignity and respect for all people, and how those values can be furthered on our campus. Offering a platform to someone with a track record of divisive views and associations sends the wrong message to our campus community, especially to Jewish students.
We are working actively with UNC-Asheville administrators to address these concerns and ensure the MLK Week celebrations further the values that Dr. King personified. Chancellor Cable has demonstrated sensitivity to the Jewish community's disappointment and is engaging with Jewish students and the Asheville Jewish community to explore educational opportunities and advance our shared values.
North Carolina Hillel staff and student leaders are eager to continue our work with university officials to ensure that its programs are welcoming to all students.