“Will you join some of your fellow mayors in petitioning Congress to approve reparations for Black Americans whose ancestors endured the horrors of slavery and subsequent racial terror?” Marcelle from South Carolina asked.
Frey brought his Jewish identity into his response.
“As a Jew who lost extended family during the Holocaust,” he said, “I have been told stories about the impact that this has had on our family and our lives, and yes, reparations need to take place.”
Frey grew up in a Reform Jewish family and now attends two Reform synagogues in Minneapolis with his wife, who recently converted to Judaism.
“We have seen throughout many generations systematic racism that has been put in place, whether it’s around financing, or housing, or intentional segregation,” Frey added Tuesday. “If you look over time from generation to generation, that ultimately leads to significant wealth gaps.”
The 38-year-old was thrust into the national spotlight after being targeted in a tweet by President Donald Trump in October 2018, who called him “a rotten mayor.” Frey had been widely praised by his fellow Democrats for his progressive policies relating to housing and poverty. He had even become a bit of a sex symbol on social media.
But after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked an international movement of protest and reckoning over racism and police brutality, Frey was booed by protesters when he stated that he would not completely defund the city’s police department.
Since 1912 the AJW has served as an important news resource for the Jewish community. The Jewish World unites the main Jewish communities in St. Paul and Minneapolis, as well as those in Duluth, Rochester and smaller cities, and bridges the divides between the various Jewish religious streams.