More Unites Us Than Divides Us – Khalid Jabara’s Story
It was July 7th, a day the Jabara family should have been celebrating the birthday of their middle son Khalid. Instead, they were celebrating his spirit as they dedicated a children’s library in his memory. Khalid was murdered a year ago by a neighbor in what Tulsa police call a homicidal hate crime. The Marsy’s Law team attended the dedication to show their support for the Jabara Family which has been a strong advocate for our efforts.
The Tulsa World reported “Jabara, 37, was gunned down on his front porch in broad daylight on Aug. 12… by the same next door neighbor who was awaiting trial on charges of running down Jabara’s mother with a car last year. Jabara’s slaying made headlines around the globe because it came after years of reported harassment of his Lebanese, Orthodox Christian family by (the neighbor) who reportedly called them “dirty Arabs,” “filthy Lebanese,” “Aye-rabs” and “Mooslems” — apparently based on a wrong assumption that they were Muslims.”
Tulsa’s Bnai Emunah Congregation Preschool chose to dedicate this library in Khalid’s name because Khalid’s niece Layla attends the school and because this congregation wrapped it’s love and support around the entire Jabara family after Khalid’s murder. It’s called the Khalid Jabara Tikkun Olam Memorial Library. Vicky Jabara, Khalid’s sister, told the more than 150 attendees at the dedication Shabbat service that Khalid would have loved the idea of people acting in tikkun olam… a Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world. The library’s purpose is to educate young children about social justice so they know we can have peace and understanding in our community without violence. That all people are alike, but not the same and each person should be respected.
Toni Willis, a teacher at the school and social justice expert, became emotional and struggled to talk about the impact Khalid’s murder has had on their school. She said she was stunned to learn details of his death and gave a promise to the children and their parents to do the work of teaching little people in the path to justice.
As the preschool children chattered and played in the background, Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum’s stood before the group and his voice rose above the cheerful noise. He called for all to stand up for those who need a voice. For Tulsan’s to remember that more unites us than divides us. He said “We must all work together to counter ignorance and hate. The path forward is through education and enlightenment. Khalid will be the light for these kids moving forward.”
The Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma team honors Khalid’s memory and supports the Jabara family as they seek justice for the murder of their brother and son. This family deserves the dignity and respect we’re seeking for all crime victims as we work for passage of this important measure.