Members of Philadelphia Building Trades and IBEW Local 98 are volunteering their time and resources to make it known that hate has no home in the City of Brotherly Love. 

On Feb. 25 vandals toppled hundreds of headstones at the city’s Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery, in what Philadelphia police are investigating as a possible hate crime.  

“This is an abominable crime that appears to target these particular headstones,” the police said in a statement.

In response, the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, headed by Local 98 Business Manager John Dougherty, offered to replace and repair the damaged headstones, as well as install lighting and security cameras to prevent future vandalism.

As City Councilman Bobby Henon, who is also a Local 98 member, tweeted on Feb. 27:

Good news: spoke w/ Building Trades which will restore headstones & IBEW will pay for/install security cameras @ Mt. Carmel cemetery.

Dougherty told the press: [This is a] “cowardly act of anti-Semitism that cannot be tolerated.”

Across the Delaware River in New Jersey, another IBEW leader is speaking out against hate crimes. Rep. Donald Norcross, a member of Folsom, N.J., Local 351, is calling for more federal funding to fight a wave of threats made to Jewish community centers across the country, including some in his district in South Jersey.

“Anti-semitism and hate will not be tolerated,” Norcross posted on Facebook. “I’m fighting for funds to combat these threats and ensure our community is protected.”

“As good trade unionists and good Americans, the IBEW will always be in the forefront of the fight against racial and religious hatred, and I applaud the efforts of Local 98 and all our brothers and sisters in the Philadelphia building trades,” said IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson.   

Cover photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Eric Hutton.