Twenty five years ago, 250,000 people descended on The National Mall in Washington to call for the freedoms of an open society.

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About Freedom 25

This December 6 will mark the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Sunday March, the largest-ever gathering of Americans rallying for the freedoms of a people in another nation. 

The gathering 25 years ago on that cold December day on the National Mall was the culminating event of a generation-long struggle by Americans to win the freedom of their Soviet brethren. Commonly known as the Soviet Jewry movement, its leading activists came from every corner of America – including Jews and non-Jews  -- and their stories and impact continue to resonate with us.

The impact is hard to overstate: More than one million Soviet Jews became Israeli citizens - half a million became American citizens. Jews from the former Soviet Union transformed various intellectual fields, from physics to economics to engineering and the medical sciences — and were recognized with Nobel Prizes no less than five times. Former Soviet Jews have changed the way we work and live through various high-tech innovations. Google, co-founded by Moscow-born Sergey Brin, might not have been created without the Soviet Jewry movement.

We should remember and appreciate that the struggle for freedom is ongoing. The lessons of those who brought the Soviet Jewry movement to such heights, and such success, should inform how we respond to current and future challenges: As Americans, we must ensure that those rights central to the Soviet Jewry movement — freedom of migration, freedom of information, and freedom of conscience — define our activism.