THE INTERFAITH CONFERENCE AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY RELATIONS COUNCIL TO HOLD WEEKLY VIGILS CALLING FOR ALAN GROSS’ FREEDOM
Washington, DC – December 3, 2011 marks the two-year anniversary of the incarceration of American Alan Gross in Cuba. Beginning next Monday, November 7th, the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington (IFC) and The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Greater Washington will hold a series of Monday scheduled vigils outside the Cuban Interests Section (2630 16th Street NW, DC) to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds. Local organizations and houses of worship will “adopt” a Monday to organize a vigil. The local Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (JFGW) is proud to “adopt” the first vigil for Alan Gross’ freedom on Monday, November 7th, at 12:00 pm. Stuart Kurlander, President of JFGW said, “We are proud to be the first local organization to sponsor the vigil and remain steadfast in our determination to see Alan come home.”
Alan Gross, a resident of the DC area, was arrested in Cuba in December 2009 while working with the small Jewish community there to improve their internet access and create an intranet for them. He languished in prison for over a year until he was finally charged by the Cuban government, subsequently convicted by a Cuban court of crimes against the state, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Alan’s appeal to the Cuban Supreme Court was denied, exhausting all of his legal options. His only remaining avenue is commutation of his sentence by President Raúl Castro.
Revered Clark Lobenstine, Executive Director of the IFC, said “This cause is important to the interfaith community and all people of conscience. Alan has been a humanitarian and development worker for over 25 years, and devoting his life to fulfilling the Jewish value of repairing the world, a value that all people of faith admire. It is time for the Cuban leadership to let him come home.” President Harvey Reiter said, “Alan has devoted many years of his life not only to bettering the lives of those in the Jewish community and but to improving lives in the broader global community of which we are all a part. We, his friends and neighbors, must stand up for Alan and advocate for him to come home now.”
Reacting to today’s announcement, Alan’s wife, Judy Gross said, “On behalf of Alan and our family, I want to thank the IFC, JCRC, and JFGW for their continued efforts. We are touched by the ongoing support we have received from friends and strangers alike, and we have come to rely upon it to keep our hope alive that our family will soon be reunited.”
For more information, contact Adina Remz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-348-7361.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington (JCRC) is the public affairs and community relations arm of the Jewish community representing over 100 Jewish organizations and synagogues throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The JCRC focuses on government relations, Israel advocacy, inter-group relations, and social justice.