Monday, April 2, 2012 –Today Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice is proud to announce its new name and its commitment to building a national movement, inspired by Jewish tradition, to hold America to its promise.
“Progressive Jewish Alliance and Jewish Funds for Justice merged because the challenges of our time are so great and our supporters wanted a powerful, unified Jewish voice that speaks out for economic opportunity and basic fairness in the United States,” said co-Chair Steve Fischman. “A year later, we’re emerging from the process with a sharp focus, a dynamic new CEO, and a fantastic new name. We’re very excited.”
The organization’s board chose the name as a call to action to fight the injustices and inequalities of our time. Bend the Arc is a phrase that has inspired many, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was coined in the 1850s by the abolitionist Theodore Parker, as he spoke out against the injustices of American slavery.
“When we look at our country we see a trajectory of progress toward an America where everyone can share in social and economic opportunity, and enjoy equal rights and liberties,” said Chief Executive Officer Alan van Capelle. “But the arc of history doesn’t bend quickly. And it doesn’t bend on its own.
“Yesterday our members traveled to a prison in Chino, California, to join incarcerated women in celebrating the world’s oldest liberation story at an early Passover Seder. On Wednesday we will travel to the White House to speak with Jon Carson and other members of the administration about some of the most pressing issues we face as a nation – the continuing foreclosure crisis, job creation, and social and economic inequality. That evening we will hold a Passover Seder with Tom Vilsack and other administration members, highlighting the Jewish tradition of pursuing social justice for all people.
“This is right where American Jews belong – supporting the most vulnerable and counseling the most powerful. And that is right where you’ll find us working in the months and years ahead.”
“We are incredibly proud of the work Bend the Arc is doing to pursue justice as a core expression of Jewish identity, and to help people all over the country who are revitalizing neighborhoods, creating jobs, standing up against bias and bigotry, and turning lives around in low income communities,” said co-Chair Amy Dean.
The work of Bend the Arc rests upon the belief that a nation divided into winners and losers, split into haves and have-nots is un-American – and certainly un-Jewish. Driven by Jewish history, teachings and tradition, and by Jewish ethical and spiritual beliefs, the organization, its members, and its partners are working to create the society Jews and so many other immigrants came to America to find – one where basic fairness and the common good underpin social and economic policy.