'YOU ARE NOT ALONE,' AMERICANS SAY TO CHURCH ARSON VICTIMS
IN NEW BOOK OF LETTERS IN RESPONSE TO ADL/URBAN LEAGUE ADS
New York, NY, September 20, 1996..."You are not alone. Please remember
that." "They may burn down the physical churches, but they can
never burn down what is even more important, and that is the church that
each of you holds within his or her heart and soul." "Be brave
and know that good men and women will help you rebuild your church and restore
a small measure of faith in this country." "Although our contribution
is modest, it is augmented by our heartfelt thoughts and prayers that not
only will churches be rebuilt, but bridges of care be constructed as well."
"We will not be silent in the face of bigotry."
This is just a sampling of the outpouring of responses -- and contributions
-- received by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the National Urban League,
whose full-page advertisements took the lead in mobilizing Americans from
coast to coast to help rebuild burned churches. The responses from Blacks
and whites, churches and synagogues, teachers and students, children and
the elderly, ministers, priests, rabbis and nuns, businesses, organizations
and individuals have been gathered into a new book by ADL. An American
Testament: Letters to the Burned Churches is a moving testimony to American
"The Fire of Hate Consumes Us All, Help Put It Out Now" trumpeted
the ads appearing in newspapers around the country, urging people to write
to the congregations along with contributions to the "ADL Rebuild the
Churches Fund." More than 2,000 letters and over $285,000 poured in.
In June, ADL and the National Urban League presented the letters of support,
along with an initial $100,000, to the Congress of National Black Churches
for distribution to congregations victimized by the burnings. The remaining
funds will be turned over for distribution as well.
"An American Testament expresses the sentiment of ordinary Americans
in the face of injustice," said David H. Strassler, ADL National Chairman,
and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "It confirms our belief
that when hatred is exposed, it summons decent people to lift their voices
Hugh B. Price, President of the National Urban League noted, "We are
all diminished by any act of violence and discrimination against any of
us. And the reality is that none of us can afford to pretend that the bigotry
directed against others won't touch us or our families sooner or later."
To assist schools and communities in using An American Testament as a timely,
meaningful teaching tool, ADL has prepared a discussion guide to help students
learn how to come together in support of those whose freedoms have been
Editors' Note: For a review copy of An American Testament, contact ADL Media
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.