Jews4BlackLives: Call To Action!
Jews For Racial & Economic Justice is thrilled, moved, inspired, and challenged by the Vision for Black Lives platform released last week. It deserves to be read in its entirety.
We know that throughout our unique community — multiracial, and with diverse identities and diverse politics — many are having intense feelings, both about the platform and about the reaction to it.
We also know with absolute certainty that our love for Black people, our belief in Black vision and leadership, and our belief that Black Lives Matter, is enduring and unconditional.
Therefore we are committed to the long-term process of supporting and wrestling together with the host of diverse issues and solutions proposed by the platform.
We ask our community to be courageous enough to lean into discomfort because Black lives are too precious — the lives of the Jews of Color in our community matter, and the lives of our Black and Brown friends, families, and neighbors matter. We won’t let anything distract us from that fundamental truth. The extraordinary challenge of building and sustaining a movement in the face of overwhelming oppression and indifference is necessarily messy and complex, with contradictions, challenges, and constant distractions.
If we are committed to ending anti-Black racism, then we must be committed to standing firm, arm in arm with the Movement For Black Lives, and to resisting the urge to be derailed or divided. We stay, we wrestle, we allow ourselves to move and be moved. We go forward, together.
That’s why this Thursday, as we approach Tisha b’Av, JFREJ — led by our Jews of Color Caucus — will hold an action and vigil in support of Black Lives Matter — to demand an end to police violence against People of Color and the passage of the Right To Know Act in the New York City Council. It will be the culmination of our Jews4BlackLives month of action.
In the Three Weeks leading to Tisha b’Av (a Jewish day of mourning) hundreds of you have turned out for racial justice and police accountability. But it has never been more critical that you show your commitment. We believe that the very best thing we can do in this moment is to make our final Jews4BlackLives action this Thursday as vibrant and powerful as possible.
Jews For Racial & Economic Justice was founded 25 years ago when Nelson Mandela visited New York City, four months after his release from Robben Island prison. While the world and America’s Black community celebrated his heroic work for Black liberation, much of New York’s Jewish community turned a cold shoulder to him. While Mandela had supported both the Jewish and the Palestinian struggles for independent statehood, Israel was a strong supporter of South Africa’s white supremacist, Apartheid regime. JFREJ was formed to push back squarely against this impulse in the Jewish establishment — to demonstrate that it was possible for Jews to stand firmly against racism, and in solidarity with those opposing it, period. On that day in 1990, a diverse group of Jews came together to show this was a community that recognized a thriving movement for liberation and justice when they saw it, and understood their obligation to join the struggle. They may have had conflicting politics or reservations but they understood that something larger was at stake — the soul of New York’s Jewish community. We believe that history has vindicated JFREJ’s courageous founding members and the risks they took.
Now we need another generation of leaders and risk takers to stand up and show our community that nothing will take our eyes off the prize in standing with the Movement for Black Lives to fight white supremacy.
Thursday, August 11th
Washington Square Park at the arch
RSVP on Facebook
The hour calls for moral grandeur and spiritual audacity. We stay, we wrestle, we allow ourselves to move and be moved. We go forward, together. This week, in the streets.
– The Jews of Color Caucus, Board and Staff of Jews For Racial & Economic Justice
More ways to help make our August 11th Jews4BlackLives action a success?
Play a role at the action: Fill out the online form and let us know what role you can play.
• Invite people to both facebook events and share on your personal page
• Tweet: Join us this Thursday for our final, 4th #Jews4BlackLives action #FreedomNow #TishaBAv Join us! bit.ly/J4BLTishaBAv
• See here for ongoing social media instructions
On Saturday, August 13th join us for
Lament: A Tisha b’Av Service About Racist Violence and Destruction
The services will include prayer, the chanting and reading of Eicha – Lamentations, statements of mourning from attacks on Black people and communities over the past year, and Mourner’s Kaddish. The space created will be a solemn time of communal vigil, mourning and reflection. Co-Sponsored by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice [JFREJ] and Kolot Chayeinu.