Help Move Georgia Forward
This morning, public health and Jewish community leaders gathered in Atlanta to highlight the danger that Herschel Walker’s defense of anti-vaccine efforts poses to Georgia’s economy and public health. Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Bet Haverim, was joined by Dr. Rebecca Mitchell, Epidemiologist and Georgia State Representative for District 106, and Luisa Wakeman, Registered Nurse and Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer.
After facing a barrage of criticism for defending the swastika as “clearly an anti-mandatory vaccination graphic”, Walker failed to condemn the underlying anti-vaccination message. Walker has refused to tell Georgians “if he had been vaccinated or if he was encouraging others to do so”— although he did support performer Nicki Minaj’s false tweet about the coronavirus vaccine in mid-September.
“As public health professionals, we know the only way out of this pandemic is for people to get vaccinated. It is the only path to our long term economic recovery, and it requires all of us to put politics aside and do what’s best for Georgia,” said Dr. Rebecca Mitchell, Epidemiologist and Georgia State Representative for District 106. “So it’s been troubling to see Walker refuse to say whether or not he is vaccinated, even as he holds in-person fundraising events in other states. It’s troubling to watch as Walker uplifted misinformation about the vaccine. Did he receive the COVID-19 vaccine? Why isn’t he encouraging his supporters to do so? Or is he actively undermining Georgia’s health for nothing more than cheap political points?”
“I am troubled by this harm that Herschel Walker has inflicted on the Jewish community by defending and doubling down on injury, and endangering all lives in Georgia by doing so. Our trauma is not your symbol, Herschel Walker. This behavior is reprehensible, and it certainly does not warrant any credibility to be able to effectively serve the citizens of Georgia. Someone like that is not fit for public office,” said Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Bet Haverim. “So we’re calling today on Herschel Walker – condemn the swastika and the anti-vaccine intent behind it. We will not stay silent while the health of Georgians is at stake, and while hate symbols are legitimized.”
“For nearly two years, Georgia has been fighting the pandemic of COVID-19. And today, that fight is made harder by a pandemic of disinformation. Politicians like Herschel Walker make it harder for us to get ahead of this virus when they refuse to lead with science and instead do what they think is best for themselves,” said Luisa Wakeman, Registered Nurse and Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer. ”Herschel Walker cannot let this continue. We cannot let this continue. Stop using symbols of hatred as excuses to keep our communities under COVID’s control. Enough is enough. As a Registered Nurse and as a Georgian, as a mother and a wife, I cannot stand by and listen to politicians condone such dangerous anti-vaccine efforts.”
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