“I will not be silent. I will not be quiet,” says Rep. Schwadron after Texas synagogue attack


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

“Representation matters. It matters to see people who look like you. Who dress like you. Who speak your language. Who understand your fears,” said Rori Picker Neiss, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Her post and comments were made after watching Rep. Adam Schwadron, R-St. Charles, speak on the Missouri House floor on the first day back in session after the horrific terror attack at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Schwadron spoke of rising antisemitism, of the fear in our Jewish community, of security needs, all while wearing a yarmulke.

“I did not even realize some of the emotions I had been holding in me until I watched this,” wrote Picker Neiss. “What it meant to me to hear someone speak for us, speak like us, look like us, name our greatest fears in one of the most powerful rooms in our state.”

In a phone interview with Schwadron, he said why it was important for him to speak out.

“I have the platform,” he said. “When I was first elected, I knew I needed to be careful about what I would say because my words are elevated. But, after what happened in Colleyville, I needed to use my elevated voice to make others aware.”

New bill would establish “Holocaust Education Week”

In December, Schwadron and Sen. Brian Williams, D-St. Louis County, announced the pre-filing of a bill that would establish “Holocaust Education Week,” expanding Holocaust education programs and opportunities in Missouri.

“Among the multitude of reasons for sponsoring this bill, a recent 50-state survey showed a disturbing lack of knowledge about the Holocaust among school-aged children,” said Schwadron. “By having a dedicated week for learning about the Holocaust in our schools, we can learn from what happened and discourage bigotry and antisemitism from growing.”

On Tuesday, Schwadron and Williams’ bill, “Holocaust Bill 2000” will be heard in front of the Emerging Issues Committee at 4 p.m.

Complete Text of Rep. Schwadron Speech

Mr. Speaker,

As you all may know, I am Jewish. What you may not know is that my wife and my daughters are Catholic. This past Sunday, I went with them to church to attend services. I am there to support them and I mostly just sit there in silent reflection. During this service on Sunday, I thought about the events of the previous day in Colleyville, Texas, Where several Jews getting ready to celebrate the Sabbath were held hostage for many hours. While I was sitting there thinking about all the different ways that event could have gone, the first reading started. It was from Isaish chapter 62 verses 1-5. That reading begins

“For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet.”

Over the interim, I heard from many different Jewish people. They are scared. Some are scared to attend services in their temples. Some are scared to wear their kippot and show the world they are Jewish. They are scared of what others may do to them, simply for being Jewish.

I recently learned of a very startling statistic. Despite being only 2% of this nation’s population, 54.9% of all religiously bias crimes in 2020 were against Jewish people.

Baruch Hashem, Thank G-d, the situation ended in Colleyville with no innocent lives lost. It could have been very different. It could have been like Monsey, NY, or Jersey City, NJ, or Poway, CA, or Pittsburgh, PA, or Overland Park, KS.

As a result of the disproportionate amount of hate and violence targeted at Jews, we must have extra security at our temples and synagogues. Our temples, churches, mosques, and places of worship should be sanctuaries, not fortresses or crime scenes.

I will not be silent. I will not be quiet. Standing here on this floor today, I have a very unique opportunity to have my solitary voice amplified not just for the great state of Missouri, but also the nation and perhaps even the world. Yesterday we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King. I can think of no better words of his for me to share here than this: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

To my colleagues here in this chamber and to anyone listening to this message. Reach out to your Jewish friends. Ask them if they are ok. Ask them what you can do to help. I will not be silent. I will not be quiet.

Thank you Mr. Speaker